High-flying Dungannon aviation firm to recruit 200 new staff

Mallaghan Engineering in Dungannon, which makes ground support equipment such as stairs and lifts for commercial aircraft, is to recruit 210 new staff over the next five years
Gary McDonald Business Editor

HIGH-flying Dungannon aviation firm Mallaghan Engineering is to double its workforce from 200 people to more than 400.

The company, which makes ground support equipment such as baggage conveyors and stairs for commercial aircraft, is also developing an airport bus as part of a multi-million pound investment which is predicted to require 210 new staff over five years.

And the announcement coincides with the publication of the firm's annual accounts, which reveal that its turnover last year rose to more than £47 million and its bottom line profit almost doubled from £1.7 million to £3.2 million.

Mallaghan is one of the world's fastest-growing airport ground support equipment manufacturers, and has been winning business with some of the biggest global airlines and aerospace companies.

Its principal products include high lift trucks for catering, cabin cleaning and facilitating restricted movement passengers as well as de-icing rigs, water and waste trucks, baggage conveyors and various forms of passenger stairs.

But Mallaghan is now developing an airport apron bus as part of a significant investment in research and development, and expects to add this new product to its portfolio by the end of this year.

The expansion - which has been backed by more than £3 million from Invest NI - is designed to help secure the future growth of the business.

The company's chief executive Ronan Mallaghan said: "Working with Invest NI has enabled us to accelerate our investment plans, ensuring we have the manufacturing capacity and capabilities to build on our share of the high lift market.

"We aim to further grow our market share of the global aviation industry and will be actively targeting opportunities in the US and China.

"Expanding our product offering to include our airport bus is an exciting new direction for us which we hope will contribute to export sales from early 2019."

The jobs agency boss Alastair Hamilton said the productivity boosting capital equipment and extensions to Mallaghan's factory space will help the company satisfy growing demand worldwide.

He said: "Mallaghan's focus on innovation, leadership training and skills development will ensure its workforce has the depth and breadth of skills and also the technology to help Mallaghan realise its growth ambitions."

According to figures just filed with Companies House, Mallaghan holdings Ltd currently has 210 staff on its books, and its 2017 wages bill came in just shy of £8 million.

The highest paid of its three directors - Ronan Mallaghan, Niall Mallaghan and Martin O'Hanlon - enjoyed a five-figure salary boost, up from £187,709 in 2016 to £238,453 last year.

The new jobs, once in place, are expected generate more than £5 million a year in additional salaries to the Mid-Ulster economy.

Until last year the Mallaghan family were joint owners (with the Kelly family) of the luxury Carton House Hotel in Co Kildare, a favourite base for the Irish rugby team.

But it was sold to Irish-American businessman John Mullen, chairman of Apple Leisure Group in Philadelphia and originally from Co Mayo, for more than £50 million.

The 165-bedroom hotel, based within an 18th century house, had been put on the market for €60m a year earlier in an agreement between the Republic's so-called bad bank Nama and Carton's co-owners.

The Carton House estate includes a sports training camp, which is used regularly by the Irish rugby team, and has also played host to Premier League football teams on tour in Ireland.

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