Over 600 new jobs as firms announce expansion plans

Centra, Rossport Pharmaceutical and Alexion among firms planning expansion

Centra says it plans to add 20 new shops to its Irish network in 2014, creating 400 new jobs. Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill / THE IRISH TIMES  Photographer: Dara Mac Donaill / THE IRISH TIMES

Centra says it plans to add 20 new shops to its Irish network in 2014, creating 400 new jobs. Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill / THE IRISH TIMES Photographer: Dara Mac Donaill / THE IRISH TIMES

 

Some 628 new jobs have been announced by several companies planning to expand their Irish operations in the coming year.

Convenience store chain Centra said it planned to add 20 new shops to its Irish network this year.

The move, coming on the back of a 3.5 per cent jump in sales last year, will create 400 positions, managing director Martin Kelleher said.

“Buoyed by our sales performance, our retail partners also invested over €7 million in new stores, extensions and refurbishments with 20 new stores and adding 45,000 square feet of additional retail space,” he said.

With an existing 465 stores, Centra already employs almost 10,000 people.

Separately, Rossport Pharmaceutical is to create 138 new posts at its e-cigarette assembly plant in the Gaeltacht area of Cornamona, close to the Galway-Mayo border.

E-cigarettes, which are battery powered and contain a cartridge filled with nicotine that has been dissolved in water, are not subject currently to the same regulatory controls as cigarettes.

The new jobs are supported by the regional authority Údarás na Gaeltachta.

Elsewhere, Alexion Pharmaceuticals said it was creating 40 positions with the opening of a vialling facility in Athlone. The investment is being backed by the taxpayer through State investment agency IDA Ireland.

The facility will be located in two buildings on Alkermes site in Athlone, which Alexion has purchased from Alkermes. The buildings, originally part of the Elan Drug Technologies business, had not been in operation for an extended period of time.

The purchase, which is expected to close during the first quarter of this year, expands Alexion’s presence in Ireland and will provide further support for patients in Europe and around the world. Alexion said it expects to invest to “purchase, fit and improve the facility for its operations”.

Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton said the Government was targeting supports at the generics and biopharmaceuticals industry.

“With strong implementation of our plan I am confident that we can see further announcements like this in the coming months,” he said.

Stephen Squinto, executive vice president at Alexion, said the expansion signalled the company’s commitment to growing operations in Ireland.

“As we continue to grow and expand our operations to serve more patients, this facility will help us to provide life-transforming medicines to patients in Europe and around the world,” he said.

In Cork, communications provider Zevas is also taking on 50 new staff at its headquarters on Monahan Road.

The company, which sells call centre and business outsourcing services, already employs 200 people at the site.