AN £11.3 million investment by Meridio Ltd, a new international technology company, will provide 165 new jobs, 45 of which are already in place, in Belfast.

The announcement marks a major new document and content management software product, developed by Kainos in Northern Ireland, with Frank Graham, Meridio Chief Executive and formerly Managing Director of Kainos.

Making the announcement Sir Reg Empey, Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Invesment, said: "The new company has been formed to realise the global potential of Meridio, a highly functional document and content management software product which incorporates many of the latest internet-focused technologies.

"It demonstrates clearly that the way ahead for our local software industry is through the development of innovative products that meet the needs of the global marketplace. "Meridio combines both excellent technical and software development capabilities along with a focus on sales and marketing and as such sets an excellent example for others to follow.

"Importantly Teamware, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Fujitsu, ACT Venture Capital Ltd and QUBIS are shareholders in Meridio. Fujitsu's endorsement of the new company is particularly significant given the Japanese corporation's global reputation.”

Mr Graham, outlining the new company's objectives, said: "Meridio is already a successful product, developed by Northern Ireland engineers, and is generating sales to major international customers. With the formation today of the new company, we have put together a world beating team that will ensure the product achieves its full worldwide potential, and delivers real value to its customers, employees and shareholders.

"We see a substantial growth opportunity in a marketplace which has not been seriously affected by the recent difficulties in the technology industry and is projected to grow by 31 per cent annually to reach $4 billion by 2004," he added.

The Meridio product has already won a number of prestigious software awards and is used by major organisations across Europe and Japan, including Cheltenham and Gloucester plc, First Active Bank, the Belgian Government and Toyota.

Successful fundraising for the new company was led by IBI Corporate Finance. Meridio has 55 employees throughout Northern Ireland and Europe, and has assembled an experienced management team of well-known professionals from the Northern Ireland software industry. (MB)

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