Invest NI Reports 'Exceptional' Customer Performance

Despite a year of uncertainty as Brexit creates a cautious business environment, Invest NI has reported an exceptional performance among its customers.

The economic development agency saw firms progress towards achieving their business strategy targets in the 2018/19 period, with over 9000 new jobs created and a £1.6 billion increase in total sales.

Chief Executive Alastair Hamilton detailed the key developments of Invest NI customers throughout the year, including a £57 million investment for Seagate, the third largest Research & Development project Invest NI has ever supported.

Mr Hamilton added: "As our key performance data shows, those customers we work closest with created over 9,000 new jobs last year. And based on the job announcements we made during the year, we are confident we will continue to see strong job creation in the coming years, right across Northern Ireland."

Notable projects included 125 new jobs at Downpatrick based Finnebrogue, the 600 person FinTrue expansion in L'Derry and Belfast, 100 roles at Terex in Campsie as part of a £12m investment in a new manufacturing facility and 211 jobs in Newry by STATSports.

Invest NI also supported some sizeable new inward investment projects during the last year, adding to the number of foreign owned businesses operating in Northern Ireland, which now stands at 1,025.
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335 exporters were supported to reach new markets, 175 of which were selling outside NI for the first time.

Mr Hamilton said: "As a result of this positive outturn, two years in to our strategy, we are well on track to delivering our four year outcomes.

"On jobs, we are currently 2/3rds of the way to reaching the lower end of our target range. With the number of employment related projects supported this year, and a healthy pipeline of future job creation I have confidence that we will continue this positive trend.

"Increasing sales outside of NI is so important to our economy. So to find ourselves already exceeding the lower end of our target ranges across external sales and exports is a really great achievement.

"The achievements of our customers over the last two years is very encouraging, especially considering the challenging conditions they are doing business in. However, while not wishing to downplay this achievement, we cannot be complacent when it comes to trade. The value of these sales and exports is heavily impacted by external factors beyond anyone's control – global conditions and currency fluctuations, for example can have a significant impact on sales and exports figures. So while we are currently showing as having achieved these targets we must remain conscious that this could change depending on future years' performance."

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