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Thursday, 5 December, 2002, 13:48 GMT
Parachute firm in job expansion
The firm is due to take on 200 extra workers
Hundreds of jobs are to be created in south Wales in a 5m investment programme by a company which makes parachutes.

The firm - which also has factories in the US and Canada - is moving its main UK production base from Blackmill in Bridgend to a larger site at nearby Llangeinor.


It is not only a huge boost for the local economy, but also helps put Wales on the map as a centre for manufacturing excellence

Welsh Economic Development Minister Andrew Davies

Irvin-GQ Ltd have said the 220 workers at the existing plant will be moved to the new factory, and more than 200 jobs will be created over the next two years.

The company was formed after the merger of two of the longest-established parachute makers and is now a world leader.

"Irvin-GQ is a real success story for Wales," said Welsh Economic Development Minister Andrew Davies.

Irvin-GQ Ltd, Blackmill
Irvin-GQ Ltd is moving to new premises

"The Welsh Assembly Government grant-aided the facility in Bridgend and I am very pleased that we have also been able to assist in this important new expansion.

"It is not only a huge boost for the local economy, but also helps put Wales on the map as a centre for manufacturing excellence."

The company has been given Regional Selective Assistance grant-aid from the Welsh Assembly Government and help from the Welsh Development Agency (WDA).

The new base is seen as a much needed boost of the local economy, which in common with other parts of Wales has retracted recently.

WDA Chief Executive Graham Hawker said: "This world-class company is nearly doubling its presence in Wales which is the best possible testimonial to its long experience of operating here.

"Locally, Irvin-GQ's expansion could not have come at a better time.

Andrew Davies Economic Development Minister
Economic Development Minister Andrew Davies; 'Success story'

"It will underpin a community's economic viability by creating new job opportunities to replace a large number lost very recently at Llangeinor.

"I am delighted that the agency was able to play its part in bringing about this very important investment."

The company also employs 35 people at Bridgend Industrial Estate where it established a facility in January to design, develop, test and manufacture products.

Irvin-GQ now forms part of Airborne Systems Ltd.

Irvin Aerospace - which was founded by the man who made the world's first free-fall parachute jump in 1919 - was acquired by GQ Parachutes which has led the way since the 1930s in the development of emergency escape parachutes.

The merger has widened the company's customer base and Irvin-GQ is now targeting new clients worldwide.


More from south east Wales
See also:

22 Nov 02 | Wales
02 May 02 | Science/Nature
08 Nov 01 | Americas
26 Sep 01 | Wales
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