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100 jobs for Lisburn after US investment

A major electrical manufacturing firm in Lisburn is creating over 100 jobs as part of a multi-million pound investment by one of the world’s largest companies.

US conglomerate General Electric’s (GE) green energy arm yesterday announced plans to expand its Northern Ireland business Kelman Ltd with backing from Invest NI.

The news came as figures showed the number of people claiming unemployment benefit in Northern Ireland fell in April for the first time in 27 months.

Kelman, which makes monitoring equipment for electrical grids, was founded by Libsurn man John Cunningham in 1994 and acquired by GE in 2008.

Invest NI has offered £981,000 towards the expansion, which will see 104 manufacturing, research and development and technical support roles created that will generate around £2.5m in annual salaries. Kelman currently employs 84 staff.

Bob Gilligan, vice president of GE Energy Services’ digital energy business, said his team had been impressed by the ability of the Lisburn workforce to “embrace and contribute to the positive changes in manufacturing and general working practices” since the acquisition.

“In acquiring Kelman, we at GE recognised the inventiveness and innovation embedded in the company’s ethos and, through this investment, we are laying the foundations which will allow us to build further on the capability of our NI team and to make a significant contribution to our overall

global business success,” he said.

GE intends to manufacture a range of existing and new products at the Lisburn site, alongside Kelman’s current operations.

The US giant will also establish an online operating centre to provide a new monitoring, diagnostic and technical support service to customers using the company’s monitoring equipment, complemented by the creation of a centre of excellence to research and develop new monitoring products, technologies and software tools.

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said the investment by a world renowned company reflected confidence in the quality of the local workforce.

“Generating almost £2.5m annually in salaries to the local economy, this investment is a welcome development for the manufacturing sector and the local economy.”