Donegal engineering firm HPE invests £2m to bring 41 jobs to Strabane

The Invest NI-owned business park in Strabane, where HPE is creating 41 jobs
Gary McDonald Business Editor

A LONG-established Donegal engineering firm plans to spend £2 million building a new factory in Strabane business park and create 41 mainly production operative jobs, pumping £1m a year into the region's economy.

Houston Precision Engineering (HPE), founded in 1980 and which already operates from a 14,000 sq ft factory in Letterkenny, will build a plant more than twice that size after buying three acres of land in the industrial site at Strabane.

And it means that just one site now remains vacant in the Invest NI-owned industrial park at Melmount Road, which lay empty for many years before Honed Flavours (formerly Dragon Brand) opened there in 2017, followed a year later by the KES Group.

HPE provides high quality engineering services, focusing primarily on metal fabrication and precision machining services, to regional, national and international customers.

Invest NI has offered its new tenant £410,000 of support towards the 41 jobs in an area which has the highest unemployment rate in the north at 6.7 per cent (including 8.8 per cent for men).

The agency's chief executive Kevin Holland said: “This investment will significantly contribute to Northern Ireland's already vibrant and sophisticated advanced manufacturing and engineering sector, and the increased capacity it creates will enable HPE to grow and thrive in international markets.

“The announcement of a new investor is great news for the Derry City & Strabane District Council area and demonstrates HPE's confidence in Northern Ireland, in the talent here and in local infrastructure.”

HPE's owner Martin Houston said: “Invest NI has worked with us throughout the pandemic, helping us to secure the site in Strabane and offer support to help us kick start our team.

“Our investment will also include a zinc plating processing line, which will offer a significant opportunity to offer this process from the north west as many engineering businesses currently have to transport their products to Belfast or Dublin to avail of this service.”

HPE has developed a strong reputation across Britain and Ireland, operating in the aggregates and quarry sectors, data centres, oil industry and waste recycling sector.

Its growth plans are ambitious, but with a modern manufacturing facility already established in Letterkenny and ambitious plans for Strabane, it says its strategy is to treble sales by 2025.

“To do this, we will significantly increase our manufacturing outputs to meet the growing demand for our products at home, across the UK and beyond,” Mr Houston added.

“We're delighted to be expanding and are very much looking forward to growing a strong and competitive business in the Strabane area.”

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