Tyrone food firm Vion announces 164 new jobs
A food processing company in Co Tyrone is to create 164 jobs after it announced a £11.5 million expansion of its factory.
Vion Foods UK Ltd has the largest pig processing site in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland at Cookstown, where it makes pork, sausages, bacon and cooked meats under its Cookstown brand.
The Dutch company's investment will enable it to install new equipment, which will improve animal welfare and increase processing capacity.
It is also investing in improved chilling technology, as some of the existing methods date back to the original construction of the plant in 1938.
Invest Northern Ireland has offered Vion £960,000.
Seamus Carr, managing director of Vion, said: "Our strategy is to build on the success of the Cookstown brand by investing in our people and in our processes.
"We anticipate a substantial increase in productivity and sales as a result of this investment.
"Invest NI's support has meant we can move forward quickly with the project and ensure the continuing viability of the facility in Cookstown."
Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said it was a tremendous boost.
"The enhancements to the company's processing facilities will allow it to become more efficient and increase profitability as well as ensuring that the pigs are handled in the most humane way possible," she said.
"Vion anticipates a significant increase in sales as a result of this investment and will ensure the company continues to play a strategic role in sustaining the important Northern Ireland pork sector."
As well as selling its products under the Cookstown brand the company, which employs more than 700 people, supplies major customers such as Marks & Spencer, Tesco, Sainsbury, ASDA, Henderson Group, Musgrave, Samworth Bros and Dew Valley.