02/08/2011

Jobs Boost As Co Down Construction Firm Grows

A company that specialises in the manufacture of eco-friendly structurally insulated panels (SIPs) for the construction industry is to expand operations, and take on new staff.

SipFit Ltd from Warrenpoint has set a target of achieving £3 million worth of new export business over the next three years with support from Invest Northern Ireland.

It makes panels that are used to build wall and roof structures and are one of the fastest growing modern methods of construction in the UK.

Established in 2009, Invest NI offered SipFit Ltd over £120,000, part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), to support a £1 million export focused investment project.

The firm has already secured over £500,000 worth of new business in the Republic of Ireland and Great Britain as a result of this investment.

The company is also investing in new equipment to increase its operational capacity and has recruited 12 new staff members in a variety of roles to help facilitate its growth plans.

As part of its overall strategy, SipFit is undertaking extensive market development activities and implementing new software systems to boost its competitiveness.

Mark Bleakney, Manager of Invest NI's Southern Regional Office, said: "SipFit is a highly innovative company which manufactures leading-edge building technology.

"This substantial investment will support the future growth of the business and enable SipFit to take full advantage of the rising demand for its eco-friendly panels.

"The creation of 12 new jobs as part of its expansion is positive news and will benefit both the local community and the manufacturing industry," he said.

Eamonn Connolly of SipFit Ltd said: "Recent changes to UK and European building regulations have resulted in the creation of new market opportunities, with developers and house builders using SIPs in their new build projects. Supported by Invest NI, the investment will help to ensure that we have the ability to exploit this potential.

"The sales achieved to date will further strengthen our competitive position and hopefully leverage future contracts.

"As our customer base expands, we aim to extend our business development strategy to target opportunities in mainland Europe," he said, noting that Invest NI offered SipFit Ltd £121,800, part funded by the European Regional Development Fund, (ERDF) under the Sustainable Competitiveness Programme for Northern Ireland, towards the company's total investment of £843,550.

(BMcC/GK)

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