Belfast Telegraph

Lisburn engineering firm Camlin posts £2m loss after opening of its new factory

Investment: John Cunningham
Investment: John Cunningham
Ryan McAleer

By Ryan McAleer

High-tech electrical manufacturer Camlin has reported a pre-tax loss of £2m in a year where the Lisburn-based firm invested heavily in a new expansion programme.

In October the company unveiled its new £28m factory at Ferguson Drive, where it produces engineering products for the electricity and rail industries.

It also specialises in photonics - the science of using light to generate, detect or transmit information.

New accounts filed with Companies House show turnover for the group, which owns a series of subsidiaries across the world, fell from £29.5m to £24.9m for the 12 months to December 31, 2018. It went from pre-tax profits of £0.6m in 2017 to a £2m loss.

Founded by Co Tyrone industrialist John Cunningham, the group had 384 staff on its books during 2018, slightly down on the 391 during 2017.

Mr Cunningham's sons Peter and Michael are key figures in the company.

Around 250 work at its Lisburn facility.

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However, in October Camlin announced it would add another 200 people across its group, formerly known as Kelvatek, with economic development agency Invest NI backing its expansion to the tune of £5m.

A directors' report accompanying the accounts, which has been signed by John Cunningham, states: "It is the directors' intention to continue to develop the present activities of the group through continued expansion into new markets and development of new products.

"The directors regard investment in research and development as integral to the continuing success of the business through ensuring they provide their customers with innovative products that continue to match customer needs."

Camlin spent £11.2m on research and development during 2018, which mainly went into developing new and existing products, as well as engineering salaries.

The group's recent projects include developing new pantograph technology for the rail link at Heathrow Airport. A pantograph is the equipment mounted on to electric trains to collect power.

Camlin has also developed technology for stroke victims. The Arc Intellicare system is designed to be used at home to allow patients to improve their physical rehabilitation and speed of recovery within the first six months of suffering a stroke.

Commenting on the group's expansion in October, John Cunningham said: "We have put a lot of investment into developing various technologies, and we're just beginning to exploit those.

"We have the facilities, we've got the markets and we're really beginning to move quite strongly."

He said the new building would accommodate more staff.

Belfast Telegraph