WEST BELFAST printing and packaging firm Delta Print and Packaging Ltd has been sold in an £80m deal.

The business has been acquired by Huhtamaki, a Finnish-based packaging company for food and drink.

Huhtamaki already employs more than 200 people in the north of Ireland at its molded fiber plant in Lurgan and paper recycling unit in Lisburn, which are both part of the Group’s Molded Fiber segment.

The Lurgan plant, which manufactures cup carriers, egg cartons and egg trays, was acquired by Huhtamaki in 1999 and has recently benefitted from Group investment of £4.9 million.

Delta has experienced significant growth under private ownership after being founded in 1981 and employs around 260 staff in Belfast, with a further 65 at a factory in Poland and are major suppliers to KFC, Kellogg’s, McDonald’s and United Biscuits.

Commenting on the sale, Terry Cross, who founded the company said: “This is a good news story for West Belfast and is evidence of the impact of corporation tax reduction on business.

“Delta Print has had the privilege to employ excellent workers from across the community and from our migrant community — particularly Poles — over the years and it’s clear that diversity has worked well for us as a company just as it does for wider society.

“The Delta Print jobs are now more secure than ever as the company is part of the operations of a global packaging titan Huhtamaki and the opportunities for advancement and promotion will be greater than ever for Delta Print staff.

“I’m proud of the fact that Delta Print has exceeded the job creation targets Invest NI set us and am confident the company will continue to grow in the future.

“From the start of this sales process, I stressed the importance of valuing the staff who built Delta Print and am pleased that is the intention of the new owners,” he added.

SDLP West Belfast MLA Alex Attwood also paid tribute to the work of Terry Cross in building and managing the local business.

“Terry Cross and his team have spent decades building an enormously successful packaging business. It is the work of Terry Cross and all of his staff that has seen many people employed on good pay and conditions in West Belfast and in an area of high need. These have been great achievements.

“I want to applaud the immense contribution of Terry, the management and workers for all that they have done for West Belfast and Northern Ireland as a centre for manufacturing.

“The Delta record of success should be built upon. I welcome that the new owners recognise that the employees of Delta, their experience, skills and knowledge have been integral to the success of Delta and that the new employer looks forward to increasing the number of employees.

“Clearly I very much hope that the West Belfast plant will be a big part of their ambitions so that the current West Belfast workforce and future West Belfast workers have a prosperous future.

“The SDLP will be looking for an early meeting with the new owners. I also look forward to working with Terry Cross in his new role as the business grows and succeeds.”

Related Links
Delta Print Website