Belfast Telegraph

Newry sandwich firm's £7m sales drive to create 94 jobs

From left: Gareth Chambers, Around Noon chief executive, with company chairman Howard Farquhar and Grainne McVeigh from Invest NI
From left: Gareth Chambers, Around Noon chief executive, with company chairman Howard Farquhar and Grainne McVeigh from Invest NI
Ryan McAleer

By Ryan McAleer

Newry-based sandwich and snack food specialist Around Noon has announced a £7m expansion, creating 94 jobs.

The company said the investment is part of a major drive to develop its sales in Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland.

Founded by Sheila Chambers in her kitchen 30 years ago, Around Noon now produces and distributes a range of 'food-to-go' and bakery products under the Scribbles, Sweet Things and So Natural brands. It also provides a design and packaging service for clients which want to sell under their own brand name.

The firm currently employs 328 people at facilities in Newry, Dublin and Slough.

Sheila's son Gareth now heads the company as chief executive.

"Our goal is to become the UK and Ireland's leading manufacturer of premium 'food on the move'," he said.

"We are targeting markets in Great Britain and Republic of Ireland and aim to increase sales outside Northern Ireland by over £13m per annum over the next couple of years."

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Last year the firm saw its revenues climb to £17m, with pre-tax profits almost doubling from £359,000 to £679,000.

"We are investing in management, key staff and business development activities," said the chief executive. "The support from Invest NI will enable us to realise our growth plans and ensure that the Northern Ireland economy benefits."

Economic development agency Invest NI has offered £592,000 towards 54 of the new jobs, which will include a number of posts at director and manager level. The funding will also assist in marketing developing activity and the implementation of a new production management system to drive efficiency improvements in the company and help it to scale.

Invest NI's director of scaling, Grainne McVeigh, said: "Invest NI is keen to support companies with potential to scale, based on a focused export strategy. Around Noon took part in our Leadership 4 Growth international transformation programme which has helped its management team develop the skills and strategies that will take the company to the next level.

"As well as supporting some of the jobs created by this investment, we are supporting the implementation of an integrated production management system to enable Around Noon to increase control over production yields, manufacturing processes and inventory.

"Around Noon has grown from a small family business to a company with a multi-million pound turnover and with this investment will be well placed to take advantage of further opportunities in the 'food-to-go' market within Great Britain and Ireland."

Belfast Telegraph