A Belfast company which is the first in Northern Ireland to provide specialist packaging services is making an investment of over £340,000 to assist its jobs expansion and export plans.
Belfast Foiling Company, based in Mallusk, provides hot foil stamping and die-cutting used by packing manufacturers for everything from food to healthcare packaging.
Up to six new jobs are in the pipeline over the next three years as it grows business in target markets such as the Republic of Ireland.
Previously, the service had to be sourced from suppliers based in Britain, but manufacturers have been able to avail of them locally since the firm's establishment in mid-October last year.
One of three company's partners, Mark Snodden, who has 25 years' experience in the printing trade, said: "It's a complete first for Northern Ireland".
The unique new service provided by the company has been assisted by a grant of £37,500 by Invest NI.
Mr Snodden said one of the new positions, a management role, had already been filled.
Three more operatives and a couple of administrative staff are expected to be recruited over the next three-to-six months. He said the investment included the acquisition of a foil block foiling machine that gives the company the technical capability to offer clients a comprehensive range of foils and finishes required by the sector.
Foil blocking is the application of pigment or metallic foil, often gold or silver, that can be coloured and combined with embossing to create images in 3D.
Another partner, Alex Crossan, said the business was the outcome of considerable experience in the industry and discussions with other local packaging and commercial printing companies. "It indicated a significant market opportunity for the services we are now developing," he said.