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Retail fridge firm Novum invests €8m in Irish plant to build ‘zero global-warming’ units

Irish refrigeration giant is set to double production at its Clonshaugh facility

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Tánaiste Leo Varadkar with CEO Jim Greene at the opening of Novum’s expanded manufacturing facility. Picture by Peter Houlihan

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar with CEO Jim Greene at the opening of Novum’s expanded manufacturing facility. Picture by Peter Houlihan

Novum chief executive Jim Greene

Novum chief executive Jim Greene

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Tánaiste Leo Varadkar with CEO Jim Greene at the opening of Novum’s expanded manufacturing facility. Picture by Peter Houlihan

An Irish retail refrigeration company has invested €8m in increasing its manufacturing capacity in Dublin, having brought back some assembly functions to Ireland to further protect its supply chain.

Novum, based in Clonshaugh near Dublin Airport, supplies sustainable fridges to several international retailers including British chain Iceland and French giant Picard. It recently signed up Dunnes Stores as a major Irish customer.

The company was set up 62 years ago to make sewing machines, before moving into washing machines and later focusing solely on fridges.

Chief executive Jim Greene said Novum is expanding its manufacturing in Ireland to ensure it has a “more robust supply chain”. He said it was also more cost efficient, requiring less transportation and using fewer carbon miles

Some of the assembly work was previously carried out in Italy. “What we’ve traditionally done is worked with partners in Italy when we’re developing something, such as prototypes. Our sales are getting to such a level and scale that it makes sense to bring them in here.”

Sales are up 30pc on last year and the company is talking to major retailers in Europe and the US seeking sizeable contracts.

The new 25,000sqft extension will give Novum a 100,000sqft workspace and will double production capacity.

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Novum fridges use propane, which has a number of benefits compared with traditional commercial fridges.

“We’re really at the forefront in offering an innovative solution to retailers,” Greene said. “Our natural Leap refrigerant is a true alternative to energy-hungry and ozone-depleting HFCs.”

He said Novum’s fridges used about 50pc of the energy of traditional fridges.

Propane is a natural refrigerant with “zero global-warming potential” he added. 

Novum’s products are widely used throughout the retail industry. Picard, for example, use close to 100,000 Novum fridges, and the Iceland chain has a similar number. Other retail partners include Biedronka in Poland, and Home Bargains in the UK.

The company  expects to double revenue within a couple of years. Half the growth will be from new customers.

“There are some big customers in the pipeline, so we’re trying to bring those on board,” Greene said.

A growing opportunity is in ‘dark stores’ in the US, which are unbranded store units in densely populated areas that cater exclusively for online shopping with delivery promised with a short timeframe.

Greene, former managing director of food tech company Keenan, joined Novum four years ago. He is also a shareholder in the company.  



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