Kilwaughter gives £600,000 to number of worthy causes
Co Antrim manufacturing firm Kilwaughter donated £600,000 to charitable causes in the last year, new company accounts show.
The holding company for the Larne-based outfit posted pre-tax profits of £7.7m for the 12 months to April 30, 2018.
Despite being 17% down on the 2017 figure, Kilwaughter's turnover rose 3.5% to £33.7m over the year.
The new report from Kilwaughter Holdings Limited also revealed that the company invested £2.8m in the business "to increase capacity" in the year to April 2018.
Kilwaughter is an established quarry and mineral processor making limestone products under the K Rend and Kilwaughter Lime brands.
It is also the UK's largest independent manufacturer of silicone render.
Earlier this month Kilwaughter underwent further expansion, when its minerals subsidiary acquired Northamptonshire insulation business Alumasc Facades for £4.5m.
The takeover deal will see the Larne-based company pay an additional £1.5m next year.
Kilwaughter said the deal was part of its plan to build a sustainable business.
The new company report showed that its workforce grew to 157 up to April, employing 25 more people in the past year, including 15 production and distribution staff and 10 more people in sales and administration.
The latest acquisition is expected to bring another 120 people into the group.
Aside from investing internally, Kilwaughter has set aside a considerable sum for charitable causes, including a programme to help some students afford to study at Queen's University in Belfast.
Managing director Simon McDowell said there had been a number of worthy causes, mainly focused on education and medical research.
They include the Queen's Pathway Opportunity Programme, which is aimed at enabling young people who have the potential to study at Queen's, but who need additional financial support, to do so.
"As a business, we believe in the importance of providing people with opportunities to maximise their personal potential," he said.
"We continue to see changing requirements in the workplace and the support of the Widening Participation initiative helping people to adapt is important.
Mr McDowell added: "We truly believe the bursary scheme has the potential to transform young lives and open up inaccessible personal development opportunities for the participants." Kilwaughter has made a five year commitment to the programme.
The managing director confirmed that the first batch of students had just received their bursaries.
"We look forward to hearing of the success stories we're sure will follow," added Mr McDowell.
Norma Sinte, director of development and alumni relations at Queen's University, said: "With the backing of companies like Kilwaughter Holdings Limited, the prospect of a brighter future through education can now be offered to those who might not otherwise have considered third level education."