First Minister the Rt Hon Peter D Robinson MLA, deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness MLA and Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster have welcomed US firm Caterpillar’s decision to expand its Northern Ireland manufacturing operation in Larne.
The company has announced an investment of £5.4million in the production of articulated truck axles.
Welcoming the announcement the First Minister Peter Robinson said: “I welcome today’s announcement that Caterpillar is to expand its operations further in Northern Ireland. We recently met with Caterpillar senior management during our visit to Chicago at the company’s headquarters in Peoria. We used that opportunity to sell the many benefits of investing in Northern Ireland directly to Caterpillar.
“This is another extremely positive investment of over £5million from one of Northern Ireland’s most established engineering firms. This expansion will see the further development of skills at Caterpillar and is a well deserved vote of confidence in the quality of the Northern Ireland workforce.”
The deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said: “The First Minister and I met with Senior Executives in Caterpillar as part of our trade mission to the US in October 2013. During this meeting we reinforced our commitment to work closely with Caterpillar to protect existing jobs and identify areas of possible expansion.
“This further investment by Caterpillar is good news for employees, the local economy and is a strong endorsement of what the north of Ireland has to offer. It confirms our position as an excellent investment location for global companies.”
Arlene Foster said: "Today's announcement marks an important new development in the ongoing diversification of Caterpillar activities in Northern Ireland. It builds on the Group's commitment to ensure a sustainable future here and follows recent investments to expand its shared services centre and develop a material handling manufacturing operation.
"My department and Invest Northern Ireland have worked closely with the company in recent years in exploring opportunities for growth. This included meeting with Bill Rohner, vice president of Caterpillar’s Electric Power Division in Chicago, to indentify whether there were opportunities for other functions within the group’s global operations that could competitively be serviced from a Northern Ireland base.
“It is very encouraging to see developments such as this coming to fruition.
"Caterpillar's decision to produce these axles in Northern Ireland highlights their confidence in the high standard of the facilities, processes and skills available and will help the company further develop the capabilities of its local workforce."