Kildare gets 900 jobs in Kerry Group deal


THE NATIONAL Asset Management Agency (Nama) is the owner of the 28-acre site acquired by Kerry Group for its new Global Technology Innovation Centre in Co Kildare, which will lead to the creation of 900 jobs by 2016.

Kerry Group, which had looked at a number of sites in the UK and mainland Europe, bought the site for an undisclosed sum from the State agency.

Enterprise Ireland was also involved in the deal, providing financial support to Kerry Group under its research and development and management development funding categories.

Nama acquired the loans behind the Millennium Business Park, which was sold, together with adjoining lands, for a record €315 million in 2006 to developers Tom Considine, Gerry Prendergast and Paddy Sweeney.

Kerry Group, which employs more than 24,000 people globally, is to create 800 jobs by 2015, with a further 100 positions added by 2016, it announced yesterday.

A number of existing Kerry Group employees will be redeployed to fill the new positions, though the company declined to confirm how many redeployments would be involved.

Kerry group chief executive Stan McCarthy said the new centre would bring significant career development opportunities throughout the Kerry organisation as well as for graduates.

While most of the jobs will be in the field of food science and technology, a number of support functions will also be located at the new site. A further 400 construction jobs will be generated during the construction of the innovation centre, which is expected to commence next year.

The company, which is a major supplier of ingredients and flavours to some of the world’s top food, drink and pharmaceutical companies, is investing €100 million in the site.

“This is the largest single investment in food innovation ever by a company in Ireland, and puts Ireland firmly at the forefront of global food innovation,” Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton said yesterday.

The Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, also welcomed the announcement.

“The creation of 800 high-skilled jobs going into this facility, in addition to the 400 immediate construction jobs, will be a great boost to the economy and for the people working in these industries,” he said.

A number of Kildare-based TDs hailed the jobs announcement as a major jobs boost for the area.

Kerry Group has annual revenues of more than €5 billion and has manufacturing activity in 25 countries.

While the company has a consumer foods division, producing well-known brands such as Denny, Shaws and Charleville cheese, about 80 per cent of its business is now in the food ingredients and flavours business, where it is a global player.

Kerry Group’s latest results show that it grew revenue by 10 per cent in the six months to the end of June, to €2.9 billion.

The company is forecasting earnings per share growth of between 8 and 12 per cent for the full year.