New owners set to invest £12m in Cookstown cement works

One of Mid Ulster’s major businesses has changed hands for an undisclosed sum.

By Claire Cartmill
Wednesday, 26th January 2022, 10:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 26th January 2022, 10:05 am
Cookstown Cement Works. Pic: Google
Cookstown Cement Works. Pic: Google

The Lafarge cement works, which employs around 100 people, has been acquired by Cookstown Cement Ltd.

Cookstown Cement Ltd is led and co-owned by managing director, David Millar, a former executive with Lafarge who has 38 years experience in the cement and construction industries.

The company has acquired all of the business of Lafarge Ireland from Aggregate Industries, part of Switzerland-based Holcim Group, including a cement plant with production capacity in excess of 450,000 tonnes in Cookstown, a limestone quarry also in Cookstown, a shale quarry in Dungannon and an import export facility in Belfast Harbour.

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The new owners have committed to invest £12m in the facilities to upgrade environmental capabilities and processes and improve efficiency.

Mr Millar is understood to have met with staff and informed them of the acquisition at the end of last week and will commence meetings with customers and suppliers this week.

He explained: “This is a fantastic opportunity to bring new investment and a new, local approach to this established business. We have acquired a great company with a strong team and excellent products and the investment we are making will allow us to expand further in the years to come.

“The staff were informed of the acquisition on Friday past and in the coming days I will be meeting the team and our customers and suppliers and telling them more about the investment in the business and processes we are going to make.

“While some change is inevitable and environmental improvements are essential, my aim is to very quickly create a solid foundation for the business to grow as the construction industry evolves. This is a new beginning for this Tyrone-headquartered business and I am very much looking forward to getting started.”

The Cookstown plant celebrated 50 years of manufacturing at the Sandholes Road site in 2018 when the occasion was marked by an open day attended by former employees and their families.

The business is an established member of the community and has regularly raised money for local charities including support group, the Niamh Louise Foundation, and Macmillan Cancer Support.

The Lafarge Cement business was acquired by Aggregate Industries in 2015 as part of the global merger between Lafarge and Holcim.

The transition meant that, for the first time, Aggregate Industries’ portfolio of operations included the capacity for cement production and supply. Following that acquisition, the business has gone from strength-to-strength, investing heavily in technology, including Geocycle co-processing capabilities, to help minimise and repurpose waste in a sustainable way.

The Cookstown business has provided work for generations of people in Co Tyrone.

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