The 10 companies that were offered £143million of Invest NI support

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster pictured at the launch of NI Screen's Opening Doors strategy with Rotha Johnston, chair, NI Screen in 2014

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster pictured at the launch of NI Screen's Opening Doors strategy with Rotha Johnston, chair, NI Screen in 2014

DETAIL Data has taken a closer look at the 10 Northern Ireland companies that received the most financial support from Invest NI between April 2011 and September 2014. The examples below show how the funding was used to boost the local economy.

1. Company: NI Screen Commission

Sector: Creative

Location: Belfast

Funding: £64million

No. of approved applications: Four

Reason for funding: Other – Invest NI said the “Other classification includes projects that cannot be easily classified in one of the other categories, as these projects involve a range of economic development activities, none of which specifically target job creation”.

Company investment: £225.7million (£3.50 for every £1 received from Invest NI)

Case study: In March 2014, the Enterprise, Trade & Investment Minister launched Northern Ireland Screen’s new £42.8million strategy ‘Opening Doors’. The Minister, Arlene Foster, said: “Our significant success in securing inward investment activity from some of the world’s major production companies such as Universal, Playtone and HBO has leveraged significant economic benefits for the region.”

Richard Williams, CEO, Northern Ireland Screen said: “Opening Doors is about maximising the opportunities in the screen industries here. With the support provided by the Minister, we are confident in the film, television, drama, factual television; animation and gaming sectors will grow significantly in the next few years.”

2. Company: Ulster University

Sector: Higher education

Location: Newtownabbey, Coleraine and Derry/Londonderry

Funding: £24million

No. of approved applications: 46 – Newtownabbey (40), Coleraine (4), Derry (2)

Reason for funding: Predominantly for research and development (R&D)

Company investment: £12.1million (£1 for every £2 received from Invest NI)

Case study: In June 2013 the Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster announced a £5.3million investment by Ulster University to establish a facility for functional brain mapping at the Intelligent Systems Research Centre (ISRC) at the Magee Campus. Invest NI offered £2.6million of support for the project, part funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

The aim of the facility is to research neurological disorders including depression and Alzheimer's disease.

Announcing the investment, Mrs Foster said: “This new facility will strengthen the R&D infrastructure in Northern Ireland and has the potential to move us closer to being able to diagnose and treat some forms of mental illness, which is a truly worthwhile objective.”

Professor Martin McGinnity, Ulster University, said: “If we can understand better how the brain works, the impact on society will be enormous, both in terms of our health and employment in health related industries.”

3. Company: Queen’s University Belfast

Sector: Higher education

Location: Belfast

Funding: £19.3million

No. of approved applications: 96

Reason for funding: Predominantly R&D

Company investment: £7.6million (£1 for every £2.50 received from Invest NI)

Case study: In September 2013, Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster announced a new £7million Centre for Advanced Sustainable Energy (CASE) based at Queen’s. It created 15 new research posts. The project received £5million Invest NI support.

Mrs Foster said: “Invest Northern Ireland’s wider support for Competence Centres aims to help turn great ideas into commercial realities. They bridge the gap between universities, research institutes and innovative businesses, representing a long-term strategic investment in Northern Ireland’s innovation capability.”

Sam McCloskey, CASE centre manager said: “Today’s turn out by industry at the CASE launch is testament to the fact that interest in research, development and innovation in energy is a key business focus.”

4. Company: Almac Discovery Ltd

Sector: Life sciences

Location: Craigavon

Funding: £7million

No. of approved applications: 3

Reason for funding: R&D

Company investment: £13.2million (£1.90 for every £1 received from Invest NI)

Case study: In September 2013 Almac Discovery and the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology (CCRCB) at Queen’s University Belfast launched a formal partnership for two R&D projects. The £13million project received £7million from Invest NI.

One will evaluate the clinical performance of the first novel cancer drug fully developed in Northern Ireland. The second project will see the creation of a new drug discovery unit within CCRCB.

Enterprise Minister, Arlene Foster, said: “This significant investment in research and development will enhance collaboration between academia and industry. This will ensure the investment is maximised, that research is effectively commercialised and that ultimately enhanced treatment solutions are made available to cancer patients.”

Alan Armstong, CEO of the Almac Group said: “A team of 17 Almac scientists will be seconded to Queen’s for three years and the combined unit will create a co-ordinated drug discovery and development pipeline.”

5. Company: Kainos Software Ltd

Sector: Computer software & services

Location: Belfast

Funding: £6million

No. of approved applications: 17

Reason for funding: R&D, skills development, innovation and technical development, job creation.

Company investment: £19.7million (£3.30 for every £1 received from Invest NI)

Case study: In October 2011 then Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster announced that Kainos, the IT solutions company, was creating 82 high quality jobs in an expansion of its Belfast operation. Invest NI offered £984,000 of support for the new posts, which included software engineering, project management and sales roles.

The Minister said: "Kainos is one of Northern Ireland's largest locally owned, high-tech companies and this expansion reflects its ongoing success. These new jobs will pay salaries well above the Northern Ireland private sector average, delivering more than £3million annually into the local economy.”

Brendan Mooney, managing director of Kainos, said: "We have ambitious growth plans across our industry sectors and key to this is being able to recruit the very best people."

6. Company: Wrightbus

Sector: Transport

Location: Ballymena

Funding: £5.7million

No. of approved applications: 10

Reason for funding: R&D and skills development

Company investment: £19.6million (£3.40 for every £1 received from Invest NI)

Case study: In April 2013, the Enterprise Minister announced that Wrightbus was investing almost £15million in R&D and staff training. Invest NI offered almost £4million of support.

The Minister, Arlene Foster, said: “This significant investment is just the latest in the company’s history and demonstrates its ongoing commitment to new product development and best practice in manufacturing and business processes.”

Mark Nodder, group managing director of the Wright Group, said: “We aim, through this investment, to establish Wrightbus as a leading global provider of mass passenger transport with green credentials.”

7. Company: Randox Holdings

Sector: Life sciences

Location: Crumlin

Funding: £4.7million

No. of approved applications: 1

Reason for funding: Job creation, 540 jobs

Company investment: £57.1million (£12 for every £1 received from Invest NI)

Case study: First Minister Peter Robinson and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness announced in January that global diagnostics firm, Randox, was creating 540 quality jobs over four years. Invest NI provided £4.7million.

The Deputy First Minister said: “This is a phenomenal announcement by Randox one of our major exporters. The new jobs will generate over £16.2million a year in salaries to the local economy with an average salary of £30,000.”

Managing director of Randox Dr Peter FitzGerald said: “Randox’s share of the global market is steadily rising, with around 5% of the world’s population diagnosed using Randox products. To continue our expansion we must invest in our manufacturing, engineering and research and development facilities.”

8. Company: Almac Pharma Services Ltd

Sector: Life sciences

Location: Craigavon

Funding: £4.6million

No. of approved applications: 2

Reason for funding: Job creation

Company investment: £41.8million (£9.10 for every £1 received from Invest NI)

Case study: In June 2013 the Enterprise Minister, Arlene Foster, announced that Almac Pharma Services was creating 229 new jobs in Craigavon as part of a £13.7million investment in an analytical facility for its Pharmaceutical Development Service (PDS). A production line expansion, used to manufacture product for export, will result in further skilled operations and manufacturing jobs. Invest NI offered £2.05million support.

The Minister said: “The 229 new jobs will deliver almost £5.5million annually in salaries, bringing an important and positive economic boost which will benefit local people.”

Graeme McBurney of Almac said: “Ultimately, the investment will make Almac an even more attractive proposition to international clients who seek streamlined, one stop drug development solutions.”

9. Company: First Derivatives

Sector: Computer services and software

Location: Newry

Funding: £3.9million

No. of approved applications: 3

Reason for funding: Skills development, job creation. First Derivatives received £3.2million for 365 jobs.

Company investment: £39.1million (£9.90 for every £1 received from Invest NI)

Case study: In June 2014 the First and Deputy First Ministers announced that First Derivatives was creating 484 high quality jobs in Newry. Invest NI offered £3.9million to the expansion plans.

Welcoming the announcement, Peter Robinson said it “will generate over £22million a year to the local economy in salaries and provide high quality employment opportunities”.

Brian Conlon, CEO, First Derivatives said: “These investments will substantially increase the capacity of First Derivatives and enable the group to develop new business in export markets. Invest NI’s ongoing support continues to be essential to our growth plans.”

10. Company: Granville Ecopark Ltd

Sector: Renewable energy

Location: Larne (HQ) but operates from Dungannon

Funding: £3.7million

No. of approved applications: 1

Company investment: £10.5million (£2.80 for every £1 received from Invest NI)

Reason for funding: Job creation. Granville Ecopark received £3.75million in August 2012 for 12 jobs.

Invest NI said: “This project has not been formally announced, therefore there is no press release.”

To read the main story in this investigation click here

To read about the three main beneficiaries of Invest NI funding click here

To read a snapshot of the NI economy, click here

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