Business Irish

Sunday 20 October 2019

Spring Water firm invests almost €7m in automation to boost workflow

 

Celtic Pure CEO Padraig McEneaney
Celtic Pure CEO Padraig McEneaney
Samantha McCaughren

Samantha McCaughren

Celtic Pure Irish Spring Water is investing close to €7m in automation of its warehousing facilities in Co Monaghan.

This is the final phase of an €18m investment programme undertaken by the family-owned company over the past four years.

Chief executive Padraig McEneaney said that in order to future-proof the business it was investing in a so-called smart store, which will mean warehousing facilities are effectively fully automated.

"We automated all our lines last year," he said. "And now this is the final stage in which the pallets move directly into the smart store."

The company expects turnover of €25m this year and employs 75 people. The investment has been funded by the company's own profits and bank debt.

McEneaney said the automation would not mean a reduction in current job numbers but that it would be able to expand without taking on additional staff.

"Two years ago we would have produced 80m litres of water. Now we are producing 150m litres with the same number of people," he said. "We could increase our turnover by 20pc, but our labour costs will stay static."

The company has also been preparing for Brexit by stockpiling product north of the Border and setting up a UK-registered subsidiary. Around 10pc of the company's product is exported to the UK.

Celtic Pure has been expanding in China over the past 18 months, with demand growing there.

In 2016, it secured a 12-acre site to house new management offices and storage and production facilities. Building was completed in 2017.

In 2018, the company launched a Hint of Fruit, a flavoured range with no added sugars or sweeteners and infused with added B vitamins.

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