A new $200m (€176m) manufacturing plant in Belfast for Paul Coulson’s Ardagh Metal Packaging’s (AMP) will make drinks cans for beverage customers in the UK and Europe as well as in Ireland.
The plant at the Global Point Business Park outside Belfast will supply Coca-Cola's plant in Lisburn and, in what looks like a dividend from the Northern Ireland protocol, AMP said the new facility is being built to serve customers in the EU and UK.
The number of jobs has not been confirmed but AMP said there would be a large number of full-time jobs for engineers, technicians and other roles.
Recruitment is to start next year, with the plant to be up and running from 2023 with scope for even further expansion. Global Point Business Park is owned by economic development agency Invest NI.
AMP is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and 75% owned by Ardagh Group, which started out in Dublin as a glass manufacturer in the 1930s.
The new Belfast factory is part of a multi-billion dollar investment by AMP in new recyclable metal packaging sites in Europe, North America and Brazil.
AMP said it's working on the pre-planning application stage of its factory plan, and will be holding a public consultation before it lodges a planning application with Antrim and Newtownabbey Council.
It described metal cans as the most recyclable form of drinks packaging in the world, helping to contribute to a circular economy and the sustainability standards of AMP customers and consumers.
Chief executive Oliver Graham said: “This exciting project is an important part of AMP’s global investment programme.
"We are delighted to be investing in Northern Ireland supporting our clients’ sustainability needs and further reducing our carbon footprint by locating capacity closer to our end customers.”
Marcel Martin, Chief Supply Chain Officer, Coca-Cola HBC, said the new facility was great news, particularly as it would supply Coca-Cola’s own plants, including its factory in Lisburn.
“Ardagh’s investment showcases the importance of partnership to bringing shared value to suppliers and customers and aligns with our desire to shorten our supply chain to reduce emissions and buy local where possible and support local jobs and communities.”
David Spratt, chief executive of AMP Europe, said: “We plan to have the new state of the art plant operational during 2023 and we expect to commence recruitment in 2022.”
He added: “This investment is supported by key AMP customers and will have capacity for further expansion to service additional growth in customer demand.”
A pre-planning consultation website will go live on January 19. Two public webinars will be held on January 27.