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Strong demand sees Sysco Ireland plan new £23m NI project


Expansion: Mark Lee, chief executive of Sysco Ireland

Expansion: Mark Lee, chief executive of Sysco Ireland

Expansion: Mark Lee, chief executive of Sysco Ireland

Foodservice giant Sysco Ireland is doubling its operation here as it unveils plans for a new £23m site at Nutts Corner.

It said the new distribution facility is part of an ambitious growth plan for the next five years following an increase in customer demand.

Sysco Ireland already has a site on the Hillhall Road in Lisburn.

The move, which is subject to planning permission, will bring its workforce here to 230 with the creation of 90 new jobs.

A pre-application community consultation on the Nutts Corner proposals is due to take place before the planning application is filed at Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council.

A public exhibition on the proposals will take place on August 9 at the Maldron Hotel at Belfast International Airport. A consultation website will also launch today at www.heronbrosconsultation.co.uk.

Sysco Ireland sells over 10,000 food products, with 70% sourced across all of Ireland. It also sells equipment and supplies.

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Customers include restaurants, healthcare and educational facilities, and hotels.

The company’s chief executive, Mark Lee, said: “The project forms part of Sysco’s wider growth strategy, which, with continued investment in our offering, innovation and people, has helped to establish the business as the leading foodservice provider on the island of Ireland. The investment in the new facility, which is subject to planning approval, has been driven by strong customer demand in Northern Ireland.

“We are excited by the opportunities that our proposed new site will deliver for our ambition to grow in Northern Ireland, supporting investment and innovation in the sector and local job creation.”

Mr Lee said sustainability would be a key consideration, with solar panels, rainwater harvesting and advanced heat pumps to feature in the new building.

Northern Ireland construction company Heron Bros has been awarded the contract for the project. Property director Paul Mulholland said the proposals would bring “great benefits to the local area”.

He said Heron Bros had an innovative approach to construction.

“This project is a great example of this, combining innovative technologies designed to enhance sustainability, within a state-of-the-art storage and distribution centre,” he said.

Sysco Ireland employs over 1,400 people in Ireland and acquired Classic Drinks in 2019.

The history of the business goes back to the acquisition of Pallas Foods, based in Limerick, in 2009. The name was changed in May last year.

Parent company Sysco is based in Texas and has 343 distribution facilities worldwide.

The company reported revenues of $51bn (£42bn) in its most recent results. However, last year, Sysco Ireland suffered a €78m (£65m) hit to revenues due to the pandemic, with a pre-tax loss of €8.8m (£7.4m) in the 12 months to July 2021.