Belfast Telegraph

We're not leaving, just relocating, insists telecommunications firm

By Margaret Canning

A US telecommunications firm says it is reaffirming its commitment to Northern Ireland by transferring its office to Belfast.

Networking systems specialist Ciena bought a division of now-defunct North American company Nortel last year but made around 72 people redundant after the acquisition.

The old Nortel building in Newtownabbey, where Ciena was based, is now for sale on the instruction of administrators Ernst and Young.

Nasdaq-listed Ciena said 62 Belfast employees at the new base in Great Victoria Street would specialise in business and technical functions including supply chain services for customers in Europe, Asia and Africa.

Francois Locoh-Donou, senior vice president, global products group at Ciena, said: "We aim to send a clear message to our employees, their families and the local community that Ciena is committed to its presence in Northern Ireland for the longer term."

In Belfast yesterday, Shauna Gamble, the vice-president of supply chain operations, said the company was staying because of the "long heritage of skills" of staff here.

The corporation tax rate in Northern Ireland compared to the south was not uppermost.

"I think financially the business looks at all those angles but for us it's about how we maintain excellent customer service across all Europe and it's about skills, integrity of staff and their heritage and understanding of high-tech industry and that's far more valuable to me as a supply chain leader versus the taxation."

Growing its Belfast headcount was possible. She added: "It will be reflective of company growth over the next few years and if that's positive and we're hoping it's good growth you'll see that reflected in the head count we have here."