£54m investment brings 350 new jobs at Almac

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster, with Almac chairman and CEO Alan Armstrong, right, and Invest NI CEO Alastair Hamilton
Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster, with Almac chairman and CEO Alan Armstrong, right, and Invest NI CEO Alastair Hamilton

£54 million expansion by pharmaceuticals giant Almac will create almost 350 jobs in the next five years as the firm ramps up its international sales it has been confirmed.

Announcing the project, Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said the investment represented a major boost to the economy of the province.

“Almac is one of Northern Ireland’s most successful indigenous companies and a globally respected brand,” she said.

“This significant investment will enable the company to expand the range of services it can offer, allowing it to respond to key trends within the pharmaceutical industry and enhance its market-leading position.”

Based at Portadown, Almac operates in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors providing services including drug discovery, diagnostics, research and development as well as manufacture of active pharmaceutical ingredients, formulation development and clinical trials.

It employs more than 2,100 staff at its headquarters, with an additional 1,380 staff located in facilities throughout the rest of the UK, US and Asia.

“The 348 new jobs will generate salaries of over £9.4million per annum when the projects are fully implemented,” said Mrs Foster.

“This is a significant cash injection for the local economy. The investments are also good news for our growing life sciences sector, which is gaining an international reputation for innovation and excellence.”

The investment, supported by Invest Northern Ireland to the tune of £5.5m, relates to two divisions: Pharma Services and Clinical Services.

The former provides contract development and manufacturing services to the world’s leading pharmaceutical and biotech companies.

As well as recruiting 141 new staff over the next five years, the company will invest in new technologies and equipment to take advantage of the growing demand for outsourced development services.

Almac Clinical Services provides clinical packaging, labelling, logistics and clinical supply chain management services to the pharmaceutical industry. It is investing in cold chain storage and distribution facilities and enhanced information systems to capitalise on the demand from clients for closer partnering opportunities. The unit is creating 181 new jobs over the next five years.

The investments will also create a further 26 new jobs within the Group, which was founded by the late Sir Allen McClay in 2002.

“We are fortunate to employ an excellent highly-skilled workforce at our Craigavon headquarters which has played a major role in our global growth,” said group chairman and CEO Alan Armstrong.

“It’s fantastic that demand for our services has resulted in the creation of so many new jobs as we embark on further expansion over the next five years.”

Upper Bann MP David Simpson said the announcement was a huge boost to the local area from one of Northern Ireland’s most successful firms.

“With over 2,000 people already employed in Craigavon, Almac is of vital importance to the local economy and the announcement that £54m will be invested by the company creating nearly 350 further jobs is a strong vote of confidence by the firm.

“These are high quality jobs generating salaries of over £9million per year which will be fed into the local economy.”