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Friday, 7 September, 2001, 06:13 GMT 07:13 UK
Investment boost to textile industry
Industrial Development Board is backing the investment
Industrial Development Board is backing the investment
A County Armagh textiles firm is to create 24 new jobs with a 3m investment.

The Baird Group of Lurgan is to base the project at its John Hanna subsidiary in Kells, County Antrim.

The Northern Ireland Industrial Development Board is backing the investment.

It will see the creation of one of the world's largest and most advanced linen-based dyeing and finishing plants.

IDB acting deputy chief executive Lawson McDonald said: "This is an important strategic investment by a very progressive group which has achieved impressive growth over the past decade through a commitment to design-led, innovative, and quality products that are competitively priced.

"The project is designed to expand the knowledge-base of the group by employing chemical and bio-science technology.

"We are using expertise and support from Queen's University and the Industrial Research and Technology Unit to add significant value in dyeing and finishing to the production of linen and innovative linen-mix fabrics for existing and potentially very substantial new markets that it has identified."

Baird's managing director, James Baird, said the move would increase competitiveness.

"The greater capacity and complete control we now have in our dyeing and finishing operation will bring substantial benefits as we continue to seek to expand our fabric business in target markets such as North America," he said.

"These essential functions will strengthen our market position by enabling us to further enhance services to customers.

"They will benefit, for example, from our ability to undertake shorter production runs and to meet increasingly tight deadlines."

The company currently employs 61 people at the dyeing and finishing plant in Kells.

See also:

25 Dec 99 | Northern Ireland
Pain and gain for business
06 Dec 99 | Business
Textiles in decline
10 Dec 99 | Northern Ireland
Receiver hopes to sell firm
18 Sep 99 | Northern Ireland
Taskforce appeal after jobs blow
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