A Japanese global healthcare company is creating 416 jobs in Northern Ireland.
Terumo BCT manufactures products used in the treatment and transfusion of blood at its plant in Larne, Co Antrim. It will expand into research and development (R&D) there for the first time.
Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe hailed Northern Ireland as a “treasure trove of challenge, openness and innovation” during a visit to Belfast following the G8 summit.
Troy Deppey, a senior executive at Terumo BCT, said: “The capability of the Larne facility is renowned throughout the company and our global markets so I am delighted that, with Invest NI’s support, we can grow this facility and really cement our presence here.
“Global demand for our products is increasing and the R&D activities in particular will enable us to tap into the skills and research base in order to develop new products and processes that will increase competitiveness and maintain our reputation for quality excellence.”
The business has been in Larne for more than nine years and employs 260 people. It has plants in the US, Japan, India, Belgium and China, employing 4,700 people worldwide.
The new jobs will include positions involving entry-level manufacturing, scientific, microbiology, chemistry and engineering as more equipment is introduced.
Terumo BCT is headquartered in Colorado and is a member of the Terumo Group family of companies owned by the Japanese-based Terumo Corporation. The new jobs are supported with more than £2 million from Government job creation agency Invest NI.
The firm is also investing more than £2 million in two research and development projects, the first research activities that will be undertaken in Larne.
Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged to boost Northern Ireland’s economy with measures to boost enterprise and innovation and will return this autumn to lead an investment conference.
Mr Abe met compatriot businessmen working in Northern Ireland this week - his country’s companies already employ more than 2,000 people there - and said his top priority was revitalisation of his economy.
The premier said he was determined to support Japanese firms expanding overseas, claiming they were opening up the new future of Northern Ireland by utilising technology.
Invest NI has offered almost £500,000 of research and development support, which includes part-funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
Mr Deppey, vice president of disposables manufacturing, added that the investment would secure the future of the Larne plant.
“We are absolutely delighted,” he said.
“We are going to get a lot bigger very quickly. We will be expanding to an additional site and putting in a number of pieces of equipment that will be brought in from Japan.
“This is the cornerstone of the Terumo BCT family of factories and that is going to be ongoing.”
He said the quality of the product that comes from this factory is outstanding and the availability of well-educated, hard-working people has been critical.
Northern Ireland’s First and Deputy First Ministers are to visit Japan.
Stormont First Minister Peter Robinson said £6 million a year extra would be generated in salaries.
“Terumo BCT is recognised as one of the most innovative companies in the world and this impressive Larne facility is one of the most advanced of its type in Europe,” he said.
“I commend the commitment of local people to providing high quality standards at Terumo which impact on the health and wellbeing of people around the world and for this they should be very proud.”
Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said the Larne facility was recognised internationally for excellence and commitment to stringent industry standards.
“As global leaders return home after G8, there can be no more fitting endorsement of the local investment proposition than an announcement such as this by a global leader in the healthcare sector,” he said.
Enterprise minister Arlene Foster said: “Terumo BCT is a pioneer in the development of blood-processing technologies so the new jobs and R&D commitment will reinforce the strength and capability of our life sciences and healthcare sector globally.”