Belfast Telegraph

Ballymoney company creates 68 jobs in £4.5m investment

Alastair Hamilton, chief executive of Invest NI and James Dowds, managing director of Dowds Group
Alastair Hamilton, chief executive of Invest NI and James Dowds, managing director of Dowds Group
Emma Deighan

By Emma Deighan

A Ballymoney-based specialist contractor will create 68 jobs in a £4.5m investment to support its export plans.

Dowds Group, a mechanical, electrical, facilities management and build contractor, said the investment will enable it to target a "higher-value design" and win more contracts, particularly in the UK and Republic of Ireland.

Today it employs 181 staff here and 12 in London. The new jobs will pay an average salary of around £32,500.

But the firm warned that its investment was "not without risks" in the present economic climate.

The recruitment drive, which is backed by an employment grant from economic development agency Invest NI, has already begun as Dowds aims to fill roles, including management and operative posts.

Once in place, the jobs are expected to contribute more than £2.2m annually to the economy. The company is also creating 40 apprenticeship posts.

James Dowds, managing director of Dowds Group, said: "Over the last 40 years, our company has earned a reputation for providing high installations in the health, education, commercial, industrial and public sectors. We can offer clients a one-stop service for build, fit-out, facilities and planned preventative maintenance, whilst combining mechanical, electrical and design provisions.

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"Over the next three years, our objectives are to increase turnover by 25% and drive up sales outside Northern Ireland. In the current economic climate, this £4.5m investment is not without its risks, but with Invest NI's financial support, we feel we are well positioned to pro-actively target larger-scale contracts and take advantage of market opportunities in Great Britain and Ireland."

Dowds Group has offices in Ballymoney, Belfast and London. It recently completed the mechanical and electrical installations on the new high energy proton beam cancer therapy centre in Thames Valley Science Park, Reading.

Alastair Hamilton, Invest NI's chief executive, said: "This investment is good news for the Northern Ireland construction sector and good news for the Ballymoney area.

"Dowds Group is to be congratulated for continuing to seek out new markets and higher-value contracts.

"As well as providing financial support for these new jobs, Invest NI worked closely with the company to help it crystallise its vision. Previously, we have also provided skills and technology support to Dowds to help it maximise the efficiency of its operations and the capability of its staff."

In its most recent accounts, Dowds Group grew its revenue by almost 9% to £36.8m.

Profit before tax fell from £1.7m to £562,459.

Belfast Telegraph