Conveyor belt maker looks to North America as it takes on 12 new staff
A Northern Ireland conveyor belt maker has announced its biggest growth in almost 40 years with a 20% increase in turnover.
Lisburn-based Smiley Monroe, which supplies rubber parts to various sectors including construction and recycling, also announced that it will expand the business to include a base in North America.
It's creating 12 new jobs here to add to its workforce of 149.
The company, which already has factories in Lissue Industrial Estate and India and exports to over 42 countries, said that its turnover went from £16m in 2016 to £19m this year.
Smiley Monroe marketing director Tim Monroe said: "We are in the middle of a significant growth period and it is down to many factors including the ambition and drive of the business, the upturn in the original equipment manufacturing market and the investment that we are injecting into the business. We are actively seeking new markets through global trade fairs and this is paying dividends. We already have a manufacturing facility in India and we have plans to have a permanent presence in North America, where the market is set to soar."
Mr Monroe also said that the company's Lissue factory increased its water jet-cutting business and as a result it will be growing its workforce.
"We currently have 149 employees and we are recruiting for a total of 12 newly created positions as well as recruiting for six replacement positions," he said.
A delegation from Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council visited Smiley Monroe's premises after the announcement.
Allan Ewart, chairman of the council's development committee, said: "It is very inspiring to learn about local businesses such as Smiley Monroe and their remarkable success.
"They have achieved significant growth not only in the Northern Ireland market but further afield in North America and right across the world, exporting to a total of 42 countries. With this growth comes new jobs, new training and investment in their employees and new technology.
"This is something they do so well. I look forward to watching with interest their future growth in both the domestic and export markets. They are a great example of world-class manufacturing on our doorstep and the council will support them in any way we can."