Northern Ireland-based crisps maker Tayto is to launch an assault on the British snack market after buying a snack manufacturing facility at Skelmersdale, Lancashire.

The Tandragee, Co Armagh-based company has also purchased a 32-acre former textile site in Lurgan, Co Armagh, which it plans to use as a central distribution base for the UK, reported the Irish Independent.

John McQuaid, Tayto's sales manager, said the acquisitions were a significant investment and were part of the company's growth strategy.

"In Northern Ireland the crisps and snack market alone is worth £72.8m (US$131.9m) and is growing by 2.4% year-on-year, while the GB market is worth over £2bn," McQuaid was quoted by the newspaper as saying.

"Tayto has not only met national competition head-on in our own market, but we are now making real inroads into the GB market. We have maintained our position as the leading local brand and are making real progress in GB through our use of character licensing," he added.