The water bottling company secured funding from Ulster Bank and asset finance specialist Lombard to help purchase and commission two new automated production lines. When fully operational, the new lines are expected to more than double production capacity from 8,000 units per hour to a maximum 20,000 units per hour.
As well as boosting production, the new equipment would enable an up to 30% reduction in polyethylene terephthalate (PET) per bottle.
Commenting on the investment, chief executive Liam Duffy said: “The support of Ulster Bank and Lombard has enabled us to revolutionise a historic bottling company by introducing industry-leading technologies.
“These innovations are aiding growth in our current markets and their increased capacity ensures we are future-ready and able to scale our operations in response to heightened demand as we break into new and emerging markets.”
The Classic Mineral Water Company’s investment comes as the manufacturer looks to expand its presence in Ireland and enter the British market over the next three to four years, with plans to increase its sales five-fold.
Caroline McKeown, senior relationship manager for Commercial Banking NI at Ulster Bank, described the producer as entering a period of transformative change.
“The investment will enable the company’s new management team to propel what is a traditional business into the 21st century through the integration of high-capacity automated production facilities,” said McKeown.
Equipping the company for the future
“As one of Northern Ireland’s standout fast-moving consumer goods producers, we are pleased to provide finance to The Classic Mineral Water Company to put in place the facilities that will equip the company with the means to expand its presence throughout the UK and Ireland.”
Established more than 70 years ago, The Classic Mineral Water Company is the only company in Northern Ireland with natural mineral water status.
Its range of products include still and sparkling water, flavoured water, lemonades, kids' ranges and a mixer range. It also has a water cooler business.
Meanwhile, the British Salt Middlewich site has unveiled its new boiler consignment as part of a major £7.2m future-proofing investment at the company.