Nearly 50 new design and manufacturing tech jobs are planned in Portlaoise over the coming three years by local company AuBren.
Last week the company, which employs 33 staff at the Portlaoise IDA Business & Technology Park on the Mountrath Road, signed a partnership deal with South African company Voltas Technologies, to make and distribute medical products.
Owner and managing director Aubrey Nuzum is expecting “an upsurge in business” with the deal, which follows another recent contract he signed with an Algerian company.
“I am optimistic it will grow steadily in the next two to three years. We have a business plan to see it grow to 80 jobs, but I don’t like making big promises. Business is always tough,” he said.
AuBren offers the design, precision manufacture and assembly of clean technology systems, including telecom equipment, IT cooling solutions, and air handling systems for hospital operating theatres and isolation rooms.
“We plan, design and manufacture systems in Portlaoise, and ship them to Africa. Every week a container of telecom equipment goes out,” he said.
He opened the plant in the technology park as Ebm Papst in 2000, changing the name to AuBren following a management buyout.
Originally from Wicklow, he explains why he chose Portlaoise, which has languished at the bottom of location choices by manufacturers.
“It wasn’t because Laois was overly attractive, but that there was no manufacturing premises nearer to Dublin at that time, which was during the Celtic Tiger,” he said.
But he is satisfied that Portlaoise was the right choice.
“We have had a very positive experience where we are. Our workforce is loyal and good, we have the same team here for 13 or 14 years,” Mr Nuzum said.
That workforce ranges from engineers and designers, to manufacture and assembly staff.
AuBren was one of 34 Irish companies in South Africa on a trade mission last week, organised by Enterprise Ireland and led by Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan.