Mining company LARNE Kilwaughter has expanded its operations after reporting unprecedented demand for its construction products.
Co Antrim said it has now increased its workforce following what it called “a sustained increase in demand” from the construction sector in particular.
Last year, Kilwaughter Minerals reported a tough business period with Covid-19 and Brexit hitting the construction industry.
The result was lower turnover, with pre-tax profits falling from £ 8million to £ 5.4million.
But with the economy reopening and activity rebounding rapidly, the Larne company invested £ 450,000 in the expansion, recruiting new production staff.
Kilwaughter Minerals primarily serves the construction and agricultural sectors, with products including colored plasters, exterior wall insulation systems, soil health conditioning minerals, and lime solutions for litter from breeding to control bacteria.
The move brought the ore processor workforce above 200.
Managing Director Gary Wilmot said: “With the economy emerging from the coronavirus pandemic, we are working hard to respond to what has been a sustained increase in demand, particularly in our construction sectors.
“The move towards a net zero economy is shaping the agenda for more heat efficient homes and this will fuel demand for years to come for our exterior wall insulation systems. “
The boss of the company said that although the company has reached the 200 employee milestone, Kilwaughter is supporting hundreds more in the local supply chain.
“As a key employer in the Borough of Central and East Antrim and a catalyst for growth across the economy of Northern Ireland, we are committed to continuing local investments to strengthen our position as market leader.
“These new jobs allow us to meet demand for our existing product line while remaining focused on developing new and innovative solutions to drive growth.
Meanwhile, building products supplier MacBlair said its revenue in the first half of 2021 was nearly 60% higher than last year.
Although the large increase reflects the impact of the pandemic in early 2020, performance was still a 27% improvement over 2019.
It came as MacBlair’s parent owner Grafton posted a record half-yearly profit of £ 143million.
Grafton said MacBlair traded heavily in the second half of 2020, accelerating through 2021, resulting in a record start to the year.