Largo Foods yesterday announced an additional investment of up to 2.6 million euro in its manufacturing plant at the Páirc Ghnó Ghaoth Dobhair, the Gaoth Dobhair Business Park.
The company’s new rice and tortilla-based snack manufacturing line has the potential to create up to 35 new jobs, Largo CEO Ray Coyle said.
Dinny McGinley, TD, minister of state for Gaeltacht affairs, yesterday launched the new line at Largo’s Bia Ghaoth Dobhair plant.
Largo employs more than 190 people at its Gaoth Dobhair operations, in full- and part-time positions. Minister McGinley noted this week’s announcement came on the heels of a 2.2 million euro investment the company made in Gaoth Dobhair last year, that included the announcement of 40 new jobs tied to the new snack launched yesterday.
“As a minister for the Gaeltacht and a local TD, I am absolutely delighted that the company has decided to invest this money in Gaoth Dobhair,” Minister McGinley said yesterday.
He said he recognised that Largo’s decision two years ago “to cut costs and refocus was not an easy one, but we see the fruits of that labour here today.” Largo produces crisps, snacks, peanuts and popcorn for Ireland, the United Kingdom and continental Europe.
The Gaoth Dobhair plant manufactures the company’s snack-based products including the Velvet Crunch brand, which was developed there three years ago and now achieves more than 12 million euro in retail sales. Other Largo brands include Tayto, Hunky Dorys, Perri and Sam Spudz.
The new snack line supplies a wholegrain chip snack to the Irish and UK markets, known as Tayto Occasions in the Irish market and Holy Crunch in the UK.
Minister McGinley said the addition of manufacturing lines, the increase in capacity and the expansion of the product lines will allow for better efficiencies and increased sales, and will help to secure employment in Gaoth Dobhair.
“I especially commend Ray Coyle, CEO of Largo Foods,” Minister McGinley said. “There is no doubt that without his personal commitment to the manufacturing facility in Gaoth Dobhair, the future of Largo Foods here would definitely be more challenging.”
Minister McGinley also acknowledged the contributions of Údarás na Gaeltachta, which supported the project.
Údarás “have always been there to assist in any way they can, and that’s why I was anxious that Údarás would have enterprise input into the future,” the minister said. “ This has proved to me it is necessary for Údarás to have that sort of responsibility.”
Ray Coyle, CEO of Largo Foods, said that about 70 percent of what Largo Foods makes in Donegal is exported, largely to the UK.
“Our strategy is to continue to invest in R&D and high-value products to allow us to increase efficiencies, and sustain and grow the business in Gaoth Dobhair,” Mr. Coyle said. “I am confident that we can do this with the continued support and co-operation of the work force, Údarás na Gaeltachta and our customers.”
John Lowery, acting CEO of Údarás na Gaeltachta, called the investment “encouraging in such a challenging economic environment” and “a vote of confidence by the company in the Gaoth Dobhair area and its work force”.