Good news! Firm promises £10m investment and 150 new jobs in Antrim town

A MANUFACTURING firm which bought out part of the Wright Group and owns the biggest cutting machine of its kind in Northern Ireland is investing £10m in Antrim and creating over 150 new jobs.

In a real vote of confidence in the town’s workforce, Jans Group, which makes glamping pods, camper vans and electric vehicles, has established four new companies.

Chief Executive Officer Ronan Hamill told the Guardian that he wants to double the company’s existing workforce by June 2022 and aims to achieve £50m turnover in the next five years.

In 2019 Jans acquired a composites business from the Wright Group and established a new home in an impressive 10,000 metres square facility in Caulside Drive, Antrim.

This provided the scope to significantly expand business operations during the COVID challenges of 2020.

The group developed multiple products, including Hydropods, a personal handwashing station.

At the start of 2021 and with order books open for the new products, the group’s board decided to launch four new companies, each established with leading industry-based managers, to allow for accelerated growth of each of product line.

Etrux Ltd, a sustainable focused lightweight commercial vehicle business was formed to bring an evolution to lightweight, high quality commercial vehicles, while establishing a manufacturing base in Antrim and a sales and leasing team in England.

The next business established was Jans Off Site Solutions LTD, which constructs modular buildings for the leisure and residential market.

With a growing customer base across these product businesses, Jans Finance was launched to support their clients in uncertain times with various purchase and leasing options.

Jans then launched a retail offering in Boucher Road, Jans Lifestyle Ltd, which provides an outlet for existing product ranges but also develops a unique customer experience with camper van sales and rentals, garden rooms and a full range of lifestyle products, which is aimed at enhancing people’s quality of life in the great outdoors.

Mr Hamill hails from the borough and is still living locally

“In 2019, there was an opportunity to take what we did and create something much bigger which was rooted in the community.” he said.

“This opportunity has grown exponentially with the formation of various companies under the Jans Group brand, which includes our initial company, Jans Composites.

“We expect these companies to perform very well in the future and have set an ambitious target to achieve a £50 million turnover in the next five years.

“Our main aim was to broaden our customer base, bring innovative new products to market and build a business that would support the livelihood of those who work there.

“Occasionally, those towns outside Belfast can be forgotten about but we want to make Antrim a centre for innovation, creativity, opportunity, and expansion.

“We know that Antrim and the surrounding districts have very skilled workers, and our desire is to provide a working environment that is progressive, forward thinking and innovative for those people.

“Jans Group is looking a number of positions from engineering, purchasing, quality to finance and with the surge in the market for many of our product lines it bodes well for Antrim, the community and the local economy.”

He added: “We are very excited for the future of Jans Group and for what this will deliver for the Antrim community in terms of jobs and bolstering the local economy.”

“Antrim is renowned as a historic town but I believe it is also a key location for any manufacturing company with convenient links to the road, rail and sea network.

“Jans Group believes Antrim and the wider community will be key to their future and will ensure that not only the Jans Group but the town is put on the map. We are very much looking forward to our future in Antrim.”

Ronan believes the group’s innovation will help drive future growth.

“In terms of innovation, we’re leading the way with our electric commercial vehicles, smart lodges and light weight composites.

“Likewise our sales of our camper vans in particular have been performing very well.

“We also own the largest CNC cutting machine in Northern Ireland which can manufacture large parts for our products.”

Antrim town Ulster Unionist Councillor Jim Montgomery welcomed the news, saying: “This is excellent news to hear of such an expansion from the Jans Group.

“I visited them last year and was very impressed with both how well they were operating and their hopes for the future.

“To see such an expansion announced shows how they are operating as a modern innovative company that is bringing jobs and investment to our community.”

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