A major packaging firm in west Belfast is creating 100 new manufacturing jobs in an expansion prompted by growth in overseas markets.
Delta Print and Packaging, which makes packaging for big-name clients such as McDonald's, Nokia, Kellogg's and Jacob's – of Cream Crackers fame – will employ 269 people following the £40m investment.
The company, which was founded in 1981 by west Belfast entrepreneur Terry Cross, also has manufacturing centres in China and India, as well as its factory in Kennedy Way Industrial Estate.
Almost all the company's sales are made overseas, with its most important markets France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany and Scandinavia.
Mr Cross, who is now chairman and joint managing director, said the investment followed the acquisition of new customers, as well as more work coming in from existing clients.
He added: "Invest NI's support has been vital in enabling us to invest in custom-built, high-technology plant and machinery, extend the factory at Kennedy Way and recruit and train 100 new staff – including European sales and marketing personnel – which will give us the infrastructure to take the company to the next level."
First Minister Peter Robinson and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness announced the company's growth at a visit to the factory yesterday. Mr Robinson said the expansion was "good news" for the economy and affirmed the company's 30-year commitment to investing in Belfast.
"Delta has developed strong, long-term relationships with a number of blue-chip companies and its consistent high volume production has enabled the company to substantially increase its turnover across Europe and the US," he said.
"Delta's decision to expand marks the next stage of its development and will allow it to further increase export sales and continue to service its key clients."
Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said the announcement was a major boost, with the company generating annual wages and salaries of £8m – an average salary of nearly £30,000 – when staff numbers expand to 269.
He also praised Delta for continuing to centre its operations in Belfast. "With overseas production operations through joint ventures in India and China, Delta could have relocated its entire operation overseas. The decision to invest in the plant and the people at Kennedy Way maintains its long-term commitment to west Belfast."
Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Arlene Foster said the company had used Invest NI assistance to support its growth plans. "Delta has also indicated that it plans to commit to a number of research and development projects in the coming years to create new products that will meet changing customer demands.
"Investing in its Kennedy Way plant will enable the company to enhance its competitive position and take advantage of growth opportunities outside Northern Ireland."
As well as clients in food service such as McDonald's, Delta also has clients in the consumer electronics, household goods, dairy and pharmaceutical sectors.