Belfast Telegraph

Plane maker swoops for £5m Nortel site

By Margaret Canning

Bombardier Aerospace is set to buy the Nortel premises in Co Antrim.

The Canadian-owned aerospace giant is expected to pay over the £5m asking price for the Monkstown site in the biggest industrial property deal of the last five years.

The premises, which was opened in 1962, is seven miles from Belfast city centre and close to FG Wilson, Schlumberger and RTU Concrete Works.

Selling agents BTW Shiells yesterday confirmed the sale had been agreed. It was negotiated by Stuart Draffin and Douglas Wheeler on behalf of Nortel administrators Ernst & Young.

"We received a high level of interest and active bidding from potential owner occupiers and speculators across Ireland and overseas," Stuart Draffin from BTW Shiells said.

"The level of interest is encouraging for the manufacturing sector in Northern Ireland and a testimony to the quality of the facility and the work force in the immediate area."

Douglas Wheeler of BTW Shiells said the sale demonstrates demand for such premises.

"We are pleased the building is being put back into immediate active use as this is one of the largest remaining industrial facilities and is the largest industrial or distribution sale in Northern Ireland since 2007.

"The level of interest demonstrates there are still a number of credible end users actively seeking premises in the province."

A Bombardier spokesman said: "Bombardier has signed an agreement to acquire the former Nortel facility at Doagh Road, Newtownabbey.

"The premises comprise a total area of 430,000sq ft and include a modern factory as well as support services.

"When the purchase transaction is complete, we envisage the acquisition will enable us to consolidate some parts of our business in one location, notably our customer services, engine nacelles, and some other manufacturing operations and offices, which are currently situated at a number of premises, some leased or rented, mainly in the Queen's Island, Belfast area."

The spokesman said the move was "good news" for staff.

"It will help to consolidate some operations on one site from a number of smaller facilities but it also gives us room for expansion in line with our strategy," he said.

If the deal goes ahead it's expected that some 600 staff will work at the Doagh Road site, which includes a manufacturing/ distribution centre, offices, a sports centre and playing fields.

The Bombardier spokesman said there would be no job losses as part of the move.

Failed telecoms equipment company Nortel filed for bankruptcy protection in 2009.

At one point 2,000 people were employed at the Doagh Rd site.