Up to 100 jobs are to be created at Carrickfergus engineering plant Ryobi as part of a £32m investment announced yesterday.
The project, a major vote of confidence in the province by the firm’s Japanese owners, will enable the business to expand its range of cast components for the European auto industry.
The announcement was made during a visit to the plant by First and Deputy First Minister Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness.
Welcoming the news, Mr Robinson described Ryobi as a firm at the forefront of die casting technology.
“Ryobi Aluminium Casting (UK), Limited is one of Northern Ireland’s longest established inward investors and this latest investment in its only European plant, is a further indication of its commitment to Northern Ireland.
“Today’s announcement reinforces the growing global appeal that we have as a great place in which to invest and to grow your business.
“We met with Chairman Hirsoshi Urakami and President Akira Urakami in December as part of our business mission to Japan, to discuss this project. I welcome this opportunity to thank Ryobi for its further investment in Northern Ireland and to assure the company of our continued support.”
The major investment by the Japanese owned company is being supported by Invest Northern Ireland, which has offered £2.1 million of assistance.
Mr McGuinness said 100 new jobs would bring the total employed in Ryobi Limited to 386 delivering over £2million a year to the local economy.
Referring to the meeting in Japan which included Prime Minster Shinzo Abe, he said such meetings provided “the platform for us to strengthen government to government relations and attract inward investment”.
“This £32 million investment by Ryobi Aluminium Casting Limited presents opportunities for people to earn a living and provide for their families.
“This investment sends out a clear signal that the north of Ireland is a fantastic location for international businesses.”
Mr Hiroshi Urakami, who travelled from Japan for the announcement, paid tribute to the commitment of the workforce and Invest NI.
“Ryobi Group is a global leader in specialist die casting technology and we are confident our workforce at Ryobi Aluminium Casting (UK), Limited can help us maintain that position in Europe,” he said.
“Over the years we have received excellent support from Invest NI and we consider them to be an important partner in our ongoing development and growth in Northern Ireland.”