Smiley Monroe, a Northern Ireland-based manufacturer of conveyor belts, is to expand into the US with the opening manufacturing facility in Franklin, Kentucky.
The $2m investment, assisted by Danske Bank and the Commonwealth of Kentucky, is expected to create 30 new full-time jobs in the local area as well as safeguarding jobs at its headquarters in Lisburn.
Smiley Monroe’s global sales director Chris Monroe says: “With the political uncertainty both in the UK and beyond, protecting our export sales is paramount to growing the business and safe-guarding jobs in Northern Ireland. Having a base in the US will shorten lead times for customers and help us be more competitive in the tough US market. Removing barriers to trade will fast track our ambitious growth plans to increase turnover by 50% over the next three years.”
The plant will initially produce the company’s Endless Conveyor Belts as well as the Zip Clip mechanically fastened replacement belt.
The company says it will work with Simpson County in the coming months to recruit a team of production operatives and support staff with employee numbers set to expand to 30 over the next five years.
Smiley Monroe intends to produce in the US by January 2020.