Belfast Telegraph

£14m investment sees 229 new Almac posts

Drugs leader reveals £5.5m annual boost in private sector salaries

By David Elliott

A Craigavon company's reputation as the drug manufacturing centre of choice for the world's pharceutical industry has added another feather to its cap with the announcement of 229 new jobs as part a £14m investment.

Almac said the new posts represent annual salaries of nearly £5.5m a year.

The positions will be split between analytical chemists and others with a scientific background, and the likes of product support, compliance and production line operators.

Average salaries work out at £24,000 a year, ranging from £15,000 up to £70,000 for some research scientists.

The Department of Enterprise Trade and Investment (Deti), which was announcing the investment due to support of £2.2m from Invest NI, said 130 of the posts are above the Northern Ireland private sector average, one which Deti's salary survey for 2012 said stands at £20,600. For comparison, average public sector earnings stand at £29,968.

Almac, which manufactures drugs for pharmaceutical companies, is to put part of the £13.7m investment into a new 13,400 square foot development and analytical plant and will also expand a production line.

The jobs will be spread across both divisions.

The research facility allows it to carry out testing of new drugs and help speed up the development process for its customers' products.

The extension of the production line will allow the Craigavon firm to increase production of a laxative drug which has been proving increasingly popular around the world, according to Graeme McBurney, President and Managing Director of Almac's business unit.

"The laxative product has been a great success in the UK and increasingly in European markets," he said.

"The marketing and promotion of the product by our contract customer has been very effective and significant growth potential in several new territories such as China has been identified.

"Centralising and expanding our production in Craigavon will mean more cost-effective manufacturing and optimal quality control and distribution."

Almac wouldn't reveal the name of the drug nor the customer but the company is thought to carry out work for many of the major global pharmaceutical companies.

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster announced the investment at the company's Craigavon headquarters and said Northern Ireland is gaining a reputation in the pharmaceutical field.

"This investment is good news for Craigavon and will reinforce Northern Ireland's position in the wider life sciences sector," she said.

"Almac has a reputation for excellence in the international pharmaceuticals sector and today's announcement will ensure that it remains in a competitive position and can continue to meet the needs of its global client base."


Belfast Telegraph