Almac announces £27m global expansion

Almac's global workforce will reach 5,000 in 2017
Almac's global workforce will reach 5,000 in 2017 Almac's global workforce will reach 5,000 in 2017

CRAIGAVON pharmaceutical firm Almac Group is to invest £27 million in its global operations.

The plans, which will brining its headcount to 5,000 people, are focused mainly in the United States.

It is the first major investment announcement by a Northern Ireland company working in the US since Donald Trump was named President-elect.

Almac will pump £20m into its American headquarters in Pennsylvania.

Meanwhile, it is also investing around £5m in a new laboratory and office facility at its global headquarters in Craigavon.

Almac's expansion in the US (where it has operated for 20 years) includes substantial investment in new machine lines, computer equipment, software and an expanded cold storage area.

It will also see the creation of 312 jobs while the move was backed by a £1.3m grant from authorities in Pennsylvania.

In Craigavon, around 170 existing employees will be transferred to the a new building, many of whom are chemists and analysts involved in supporting drug research, development and manufacture.

An additional £2m is being invested in the development of the Arran Chemical Company facility in Athlone which was acquired by Almac last year.

The capital project is enabling an upgrade of the existing site infrastructure and brings additional manufacturing capacity and assets on stream as well as more distillation and drying capabilities.

The company said the expansion plans would allow "significant growth" of its Almac Sciences business which it said was "vital to meet ongoing demand for its innovative API and chemical development services".

The plans will bring overall staff numbers to 5,000 by the end of next year, with 60 per cent of them based in Craigavon.

The company also has operations in North Carolina and California in the US and in Singapore and Tokyo in Asia.

Almac Group CEO Alan Armstrong said: "Due to significant industry demand for our services it is essential we build capacity and increase headcount to ensure we continue to compete at a global level.

"This year we are celebrating our twentieth year in the US and we are excited to make a further commitment within the Pennsylvania State and throughout North America. We are also delighted to announce our further expansion plans across Europe as we continue to build upon our tremendous global success and we are looking forward to an exciting future.”

Governor of Pennsylvania, Tom Wolf welcomed the news.

“In 2007, Almac Group invested $100m, retained 495 jobs, and created another 264 jobs, when it successfully established its US headquarters in Pennsylvania," he said.

“Since then, we’ve seen Almac Group’s significant contributions to the economic vitality of the region as a major player in south-eastern Pennsylvania’s strong bio-pharma industry, and we look forward to its continued success as it once again chooses Pennsylvania for its operations expansion.”