Belfast Telegraph

Tyrone engineering firm doubling its workforce to meet demand across globe

Mallaghan set to recruit 210 amid surging profits

By Ryan McAleer

Co Tyrone company Mallaghan Engineering is set to double its staff by hiring 210 people in response to continued growth as pre-tax profits surge to £3.3m.

The Dungannon firm designs and makes ground support equipment for the aviation industry, with more than 70% of its sales outside the EU.

Among the products it has in production is a prototype airport bus.

Mallaghan plans to recruit 210 additional staff over the next five years, generating over £5m in annual salaries.

Economic development agency Invest NI is providing £3m to support the company's growth plans.

The expansion will increase the capacity of Mallaghan's factory, as well as adding new manufacturing equipment and introducing an extensive skills training programme.

The company's latest accounts released on Friday showed it had 207 staff on the books last year and its annual turnover rose 11.3% from £41.7m to £46.4m. Pre-tax profits increased by 18.7% from £2.7m in 2016 to £3.3m in 2017.

Mallaghan's managing director Martin O'Hanlon said that while the prospect of Brexit continues to "vex" the company, it had not deterred its growth plans.

He added there were no contingency plans being considered to set up company bases elsewhere in the EU. However, the firm has a number of international subsidiaries that support the sale end of its business, including premises in Singapore and in the United States.

"To say that Brexit doesn't vex us and doesn't give us some concerns, it absolutely does," said Mr O'Hanlon.

"We will cope, we will adapt and we will continue to grow."

Visiting the factory yesterday, Invest NI's chief executive Alastair Hamilton said growth in the aerospace sector in places like the Far East and Middle East was "phenomenal" despite other accounts suggesting a decline in manufacturing in Northern Ireland.

Company chief executive Ronan Mallaghan described the firm as "one of the fastest-growing airport ground support equipment manufacturers worldwide". Martin O'Hanlon said the company has been growing year-on-year.

"We see this as a growth sector globally. We can't influence what's going to happen in the medium term, we have to get on with what we do now to try and grow our business."

Among the customers touring the site yesterday were delegations from Japan and Egypt. "We encourage people to come and visit us," he said. "We like to show off our premises, we like to show off our products, indeed we like to show off Northern Ireland."

Its products include high lift trucks for catering, baggage conveyors and various forms of passenger stairs. And Mallaghan believes autonomous vehicles will be the way forward.

"We see autonomous technology as the future for this industry, so we're investing in that and there'll be R&D projects around autonomous vehicles for airport," said Mr O'Hanlon.

He said the company plan to work with schools, further education colleges and universities to help address the longer term need for skilled staff.

Describing the ongoing recruitment, he said: "It's a whole cross-section of jobs from on floor engineers, to design engineers, manufacturing engineers, sales finance and IT. There are various jobs and opportunities."

Belfast Telegraph

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