22/06/2011

Prince Andrew Backs F G Wilsons

There's a royal visit underway in Co Antrim this afternoon with news that Prince Andrew has flown into NI.

His Royal Highness The Duke of York has arrived for the first engagement of the day and has visited FG Wilson in Larne to meet some of the staff of Europe's largest diesel generating set manufacturer.

FG Wilson began life in an old textile mill in Belfast and today is one of Northern Ireland's top exporters.

The company is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Caterpillar and provides employment for more than 3,000 people across four sites in Northern Ireland.

With global facilities in Brazil, China, India and the USA the company exports to countries throughout the globe and sits comfortably within the UK's top 100 exporters.

The Duke of York, who is the UK's Special Representative for International Trade and Investment, was greeted by Joan Christie, Lord-Lieutenant of Co Antrim, and went on to meet Dr Mark Sweeney who accompanied HRH during the engagement.

Beginning the tour of the facility that spans an area of one million square feet, His Royal Highness met senior management and heard about the growth of the Company, which today manufactures products that are used to support key business sectors including the telecommunications, healthcare, tourism/ leisure, retail and banking industries.

HRH was also told about how FG Wilson, as a Caterpillar subsidiary, shares in the success of the Fortune 100 Company that saw revenue of over $42.6 billion in 2010.

Later, in the near-by Engineering Centre of Excellence (ECE), The Duke met staff employed in the key areas of the operation, including Product Validation, Technical Development and Services Engineering.

HRH was Guest of Honour at a reception with around 150 staff members and guests, including customers, dealers, and safety and union representatives.

His Royal Highness signed the visitors' book before departing for the next engagement.

(BMcC)

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