Northern Ireland

Caterpillar in £5.4m Larne investment

Caterpillar front end loader Image copyright Scott Olson
Image caption The axles are a key part of trucks, which are used for earth moving, mining and quarrying throughout the world.

US engineering firm Caterpillar is to invest $9m (£5.4m) to expand its Northern Ireland truck parts manufacturing operation.

It will maintain up to 100 jobs and enhance skills at the plant in Larne, County Antrim, the US company said.

The decision to permanently source axles from Larne follows a preliminary production period over past months.

The company said it recognised the high standard of facilities, processes, and expertise in Northern Ireland.

Caterpillar Northern Ireland operations director Robert Kennedy added: "It is also a testament to the cost competitiveness of manufacturing in Northern Ireland and advantages the local facilities have in terms of proximity to customers, access to ports and other transportation infrastructure."

Redundancies

The company, formerly known as FG Wilson, has operations in Larne and west Belfast.

Caterpillar is a manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel-electric locomotives.

The axles are a key part of trucks, which are used for earth moving, mining and quarrying throughout the world.

Caterpillar managing director for articulated trucks Phil Handley said: "Caterpillar NI operations are proven and very capable.

"We're happy with the level of quality we've had there, the team has been very responsive to our needs and has been really collaborating and working closely with us. It's an excellent source for these key components."

About 18 months ago, 700 staff were laid off as the production of one of its generators was moved to a Caterpillar plant in China.

Listen to the interview with Caterpillar NI operations director Robert Kennedy on the Northern Ireland Business News podcast.

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