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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 April, 2005, 06:42 GMT 07:42 UK
Business leaders praise Coke move
Coca Cola's Lambeg plant
The new operation is near Coca Cola's Lambeg plant
Local business leaders have welcomed the securing of more than 250 Coca-Cola jobs after the soft drinks company confirmed a new 53m investment.

The move ends months of speculation about the future of the company's operations on both sides of the border.

It will build a new plant at Knockmore Hill on the outskirts of Lisburn, near its Lambeg operation, which is closing.

Rowan Black of Lisburn Chamber of Commerce said it was good news for the local economy.

"The fact that the jobs have been retained within the Lisburn area is superb, and also the fact that they are retained in Northern Ireland and not lost to the Republic," he said.

"Coca-Cola have been here for many years - vibrant as an employer.

"They have been expanding for may years and obviously want to expand further."

'Growth plans'

Coca-Cola said it needed a ready supply of pure water, at a location near an existing plant and with good roads.

The company has been looking for a site for a new bottling plant to consolidate its current operation for some time.

It assessed more than 60 locations on both sides of the border, including the site of the former Maze prison.

This investment will secure the jobs of the 1,000 people plus who are going to remain after this project is completed
Alfie Lydon
Coca-Cola bottling managing director

It has three operations - at Lambeg in County Antrim, on the outskirts of west Dublin and at Greenore in County Louth.

Coca-Cola's decision to invest in its Northern Ireland operation will mean up to 300 jobs losses in the Republic of Ireland.

It will secure the jobs of more than 250 of Coke's 500-strong workforce in Northern Ireland.

There will be no immediate extra recruitment in Northern Ireland, although the company said its growth plans should lead to the creation of fresh roles in the future.

The managing director of Coca-Cola bottling, Alfie Lydon, said there was some good news for workers in the Republic of Ireland.

"This investment will secure the jobs of the 1,000 people plus who are going to remain after this project is completed," he said.

"Half of those - in excess of 500 - will still be employed here in the Republic of Ireland."


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
BBC NI's Sharon Ferguson:
"Coca-Cola's decision to invest in its Northern Ireland operation will mean up to 300 jobs losses in the Republic of Ireland"



SEE ALSO:
Jobs threat at NI Coke plant
30 Sep 04 |  Northern Ireland
Coke appoints new chief executive
04 May 04 |  Business
Buffett's Coke role questioned
12 Apr 04 |  Business
Coke recalls controversial water
19 Mar 04 |  Business


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