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West Belfast-based Delta Print bought by Huhtamaki in £80m deal

Food and drink packaging specialists Huhtamaki has acquired the Belfast-based Delta Print and Packaging.

The £80million acquisition, which also includes Delta’s production plant in Poland – European Packaging Solutions - it's hoped will strengthen Huhtamaki’s position within the foodservice packaging market across the continent.

It will also allow the Finnish-headquartered company to expand its offering to customers which include the likes of KFC, Kellogg's and McDonald's.

The existing management team, which will remain unchanged, will report to Rosemary Mason, managing director Huhtamaki Foodservice Western Europe and UK.

She said: “To date, our product offering has focused on food-to-go packaging such as cups, lids, plates, bowls and cutlery for some of the leading food and foodservice brands in the world.

"The acquisition of Delta, which manufactures board products complementary to our own such as burger clam boxes, fry cartons and flat cartons for many different retail products, will allow Huhtamaki to enter the fast-growing folding carton business in Europe and strengthen our global customer partnerships.”

Mrs Mason continued: “We recognise that the 290 plus employees of Delta, and their experience, skills and knowledge of the industry, have been integral to the success the company has enjoyed over the last 30 years and we look forward to welcoming them on board and increasing the number of Huhtamaki employees in Northern Ireland.”

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Huhtamaki already employs more than 200 people in Northern Ireland at its plant in Lurgan and paper recycling unit in Lisburn.

The Lurgan plant, which manufactures cup carriers, egg cartons and egg trays, was acquired by Huhtamaki in 1999 and has recently benefitted from Group investment of £4.9m.

“Moving forward as Huhtamaki Foodservice Delta Limited, we will work hard to ensure a smooth transition ensuring business as usual and providing our customers with a high level of service,” added Mrs Mason.

“Throughout the Huhtamaki Group there is a strong emphasis on the care of both customers and employees, and this culture will extend to Delta which has been delivering high levels of customer service for over thirty years.”

“Together, we believe we can accelerate sales growth through mutual customers in coffee, quick service restaurants and consumer goods, thus expanding our footprint in the folded carton packaging market within Europe, and even further afield.”

Delta’s head office is in Belfast with production facilities in Gliwice, Poland.

Delta founder Terry Cross OBE, who will remain as a senior advisor assisting Huhtamaki build its folding carton packaging business further, said: “I am delighted that Delta has become part of the Huhtamaki organisation which is a leading, global specialist in food and drink packaging. Thirty five years on from our first transaction, now is the time for the company to take the next step in what has been, and what will continue to be, a very exciting journey for the company, our employees and our customers.

“It is the innovation, dedication and hard work of our staff here in Belfast, and at our sister site in Poland, that has captured the attention of a global company such as Huhtamaki which is fantastic for a Northern Ireland company."