First Minister and deputy First Minister join Coca‑Cola HBC to celebrate largest investment in Knockmore Hill since the opening of the plant

The canning line is the second of its kind to be installed at the plant and will support increased demand for can production, with the capacity to produce 4.8 million cans per week. It enables the plant to expand production capabilities and increase the number of products and pack sizes available. It will reduce the company’s reliance on external sourcing from other Coca‑Cola HBC facilities across Europe, most notably bringing the production many of the Monster Energy products in-house.

The announcement represents a key milestone in Coca‑Cola HBC’s growth and investment in Northern Ireland, where it has proudly operated for more than 80 years. Today, Coca‑Cola HBC directly employs 470 people in Northern Ireland and contributes to a further 370 jobs indirectly. It is a significant contributor to the region’s economy, delivering £36M in wages along its value chain and £70M in Gross Value Added. Read more about the social economic impact here.

The new line will also support Coca‑Cola’s transition to new taller “Sleek Cans”, launching this month. The move to Sleek Can marks the most significant change in Coca‑Cola’s can offering for more than 70 years and is a first for the soft drink industry in Ireland and Northern Ireland.

The investment also supports Coca‑Cola’s journey towards a World Without Waste, by enabling the introduction of more sustainable secondary packaging for multipack cans. Innovative paperboard and cardboard packaging solutions for multi-pack cans will be introduced this year, eliminating 620 tonnes of shrink plastic from circulation annually. Read more.

Coca‑Cola HBC's Group Supply Chain Director, and former General Manager of Ireland and Northern Ireland, Marcel Martin reflected on the last decade of growth and development for the Knockmore Hill plant:

 

Marcel Martin, Coca-Cola HBC Supply Chain Director
It’s the ten-year anniversary since the official opening of Knockmore Hill and the launch of this second canning line most significant upgrade of the plant since the initial £93 million investment. Marcel Martin, Group Supply Chain Director and former General Manager of the business

“As I reflect back on the last ten years, I’m proud to say that this business unit has not only achieved outstanding commercial success, it has grown responsibly –  playing a value-adding role in the communities it serves. Coca‑Cola HBC Ireland and Northern Ireland continues to invest in its people and proudly shows leadership in sustainability.

“Northern Ireland is a great place to do business and this investment in Knockmore Hill will hopefully serve to demonstrate our continued commitment to providing employment and delivering economic value across the region for generations to come.”

Coca‑Cola HBC’s General Manager Miles Karemacher, who was appointed in October 2019, said: “I’m very proud to join Coca‑Cola HBC Ireland and Northern Ireland at an exciting point in the company’s growth. 

Our launch today also marks our evolution to the new stylish ‘Sleek Can’. This in turn furthers our journey towards a World Without Waste by enabling the transition to cardboard solutions for our multipack cans. We’re very proud to report that this move alone will eliminate 620 tonnes of shrink film plastic from the island of Ireland market annually. Miles Karamacher, General Manager, Coca‑Cola HBC Ireland & Northern Ireland

“I would like to sincerely thank the First Minister and Deputy First Minister for joining us here today and for their continued support for our business.”

 

This is a significant development for Coca‑Cola HBC and their further £9.3m investment is also hugely significant for the local community and our economy. Arlene Foster, The First Minister Rt Hon

"It is a shining example of the kind of innovative and forward thinking that not only delivers increased production capabilities and but also contributes positively to our shared sustainability agenda.”

Coca‑Cola HBC is an important contributor to our economy and valued employer in the local community. As an Executive, we are determined to collectively deliver prosperity for all our people and we want to work in partnership with business and industry to deliver this. Michelle O’Neill, The deputy First Minister

“I congratulate Coca‑Cola HBC on this exciting development and warmly welcome their ongoing investment in our local economy.”