Textile giants Ulster Carpets and Mourne Textiles join forces to create new global business
Two of Northern Ireland's biggest names in home textiles have joined forces to create a new company aiming to sell goods across the world.
Ulster Carpets, based in Portadown, and Mourne Textiles have formed the joint venture called Mourne Weavers.
The new company will produce luxury woven furnishing fabrics, curtain fabrics, cushions and blankets for the commercial interior design sector.
It will create a number of jobs and will allow both firms to grow their export trade. However, Ulster Carpets said it could not comment on how many jobs could come from the venture.
Mario Sierra, creative director at Mourne Textiles, said: "We are delighted to have secured this substantial investment from Ulster Carpets that will allow us to retain the core strengths of Mourne Textiles while growing into new sectors with Mourne Weavers."
Ulster Carpets said it is aiming to build on the company's success in the artisan sector, following its 2016 acquisition of London-based Roger Oates Design, which designs and hand-produces stripe runners and rugs.
David Acheson, head of strategic operations at Ulster Carpets, said: "The creation of Mourne Weavers and the product range that it will offer perfectly complements Roger Oates Design. We have no doubt that we will be able to combine this expertise with our knowledge of the global market to firmly establish Mourne Weavers within the commercial sector."
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Nick Coburn, group managing director at Ulster Carpets, added: "Despite the many challenges within the global market, we continue to show confidence in the marketplace and we are excited about the new opportunities that this new joint venture will bring.
"It also underpins our ongoing growth and diversification strategy to invest in the development of similar businesses and allows us to widen our portfolio into this exciting niche sector in Ireland."
Both firms have a long history in the textile sector. Ulster Carpets was set up in 1938 by George Walter Wilson to service the residential and commercial sectors. Today it has offices in America, Dubai, Paris and London.
Over 75% of its products are sourced from outside of the UK and include high profile customers such as the Intercontinental in Paris and Hotel South Beach in Miami.
Mourne Textiles set up shop in Co Down in 1940. It was created by Norwegian design pioneer Gerd Hay-Edie using traditional weaving techniques on custom-made handlooms. Mario Sierra is the third generation of the family to run the business.
The collaboration will not impact on their main businesses, which will trade as normal.