Dutch food group Vion plans to expand its meat processing site in Cookstown in Northern Ireland.

The company is increasing processing capacity and installing new equipment at the plant. The GBP11.5m (US$18.3m) project will create 164 jobs at the facility.

The facility manufactures pork, sausages, bacon and cooked meats. Products are sold under the Cookstown brand, for retailers including Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury's and for manufacturing customers including Samworth Brothers.

"Our strategy is to build on the success of the Cookstown brand by investing in our people and in our processes. We anticipate a substantial increase in productivity and sales as a result of this investment," Vion MD Seamus Carr said yesterday (28 March).

Invest Northern Ireland, a local government agency, has offered Vion GBP960,000 for the expansion. "Invest NI's support has meant we can move forward quickly with the project and ensure the continuing viability of the facility in Cookstown," Carr added.