New Coleraine jobs promised at Farm Fed site

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Lynas Foodservice has agreed to buy the former Farm Fed site outside Coleraine to further develop its multi-million pound business.

The country’s largest family-owned food distributor will take over the 9.5 acre site at Gateside Road once the legal formalities are completed.

The company’s managing director said today that the development would mean more jobs for Coleraine.

Richard McLaughlin, MRICS Director of Northern Real Estate, which handled the sale, said: “The site is sale agreed and in legals with completion hopefully very soon.

“I can confirm that the site is being acquired by Lynas Foodservice who will develop the site for their own use.”

Lynas Foodservice, which supplies more than 6,000 food products to 5,000 customers all over Ireland, increased turnover for 2015 to more than £108 million, a rise of £3m from the previous year.

The company makes 8,000 deliveries every week around Ireland from four distribution hubs.

A third generation business, it supplies chilled and frozen foods to food outlets, businesses and public bodies and runs three outlet stores in Belfast, Londonderry and at Loughanhill Industrial Estate in Coleraine.

The company was founded 70 years ago by Bobby Lynas when he opened a small fishmongers at Brook Street in Coleraine.

His son Norman joined the business when he was 16, after his father suffered a heart attack - and was responsible for its move into frozen food.

The company is now led by Bobby’s grandson Andrew, who is the managing director.

A statement from Lynas Foodservice today said: “Lynas Foodservice are delighted to announce that they are in the final stages of buying 10 acres of land on the Gateside road making a long-term investment in our home town of Coleraine. We love this town and area and as we looked out over the longer-term we realised we would need more space.

“This investment shows our commitment to this area for the next 20-pus years and we believe this land was vital to allow for growth. We are so grateful to our staff for the outstanding job they do day in and day out and their excitement in continuing to develop Lynas Foodservice has been fantastic to see.

“We will take time and engage with our staff regarding how best we can utilise the site but look forward to continuing to grow and develop the business here in Ireland, both North and South, through our food outlets and with our new Scottish Foodservice Division.

“However, for the family the most exciting part is putting down deeper roots in our local community.”

The company employs 450 staff with about 100 in Coleraine.

The site at Gateside Road, believed to be the largest industrial-zoned land left in the borough - was once home to the Farm Fed chicken factory.

The firm was once one of the town’s major employers but announced it was closing in January 2006 with the loss of 380 staff, including 90 from Poland.