Jobs boost after Schrader Electronics capitalises on new EU law
Northern Ireland companies should look for business opportunities in new European legislation, according to the enterprise minister.
Arlene Foster was speaking as Antrim tyre pressure firm Schrader Electronics announced it was investing £56m and creating 241 new jobs at its Carrickfergus and Antrim facilities.
The firm, which will also launch five new research and development projects, has a 50% market share in the sector and plans to double production – currently 60m units per year – by 2017.
The new jobs will generate almost £7m a year in salaries and the investment has been supported by a £9.7m boost from Invest Northern Ireland.
Schrader has capitalised on EU legislation which decrees that all new cars manufactured in Europe from November 2014 must be fitted with tyre pressure monitors which connect to, and flash warnings to, the dashboard display.
The legislation has been in place in the USA for some time.
"Here is a company which has been looking ahead and seeing what is on the horizon and as a result is enjoying huge success," said Mrs Foster.
"They looked at the impending legislation and provided for it. Some people and firms see European legislation as a challenge, but it can equally be an opportunity. Other companies should be following Schrader's lead, looking at the legislation and seeing if they can come up with a solution."
Schrader products are already fitted by major car manufacturers like Jaguar, Volkswagen, BMW, Audi, Volvo, Land Rover and Mercedes-Benz and Invest NI chief executive Alastair Hamilton said that providing such a large amount of support was an easy decision to make.
"This company has a history of turning investment into research and development into product which has won them a huge market share, and the revenue generated has been invested back into the company through more research and development and more job creation," he said.
"Schrader intends to use this investment to help double production by 2017 so Invest Northern Ireland had no hesitation in offering such a large amount of support."
Schrader's new R&D projects include developing next generation versions of the company's highly successful tyre pressure sensors and valves.
Stephen McClelland, managing director of the firm, said that with tyre pressure monitoring becoming mandatory this year in Europe, the company had been preparing for expansion for some time. "Our success stems from our strong research and development base," he said.
What the new salaries created by Schrader are worth to our economy