Indian firm's second office in Northern Ireland spreads cheer
By Prasun Sonwalkar,
London, Dec 13 (IANS) India's trade and business relations with Northern Ireland has reached a new high with Indian call centre major Firstsource opening a second office in Londonderry and creating over 500 jobs.
Several Indian companies have opened offices in Belfast, prominent among them being IT major HCL, which has a call centre called Apollo Contact centre catering to European and American clients.
Facilitated by the government organisation Invest Northern Ireland, the region has forged links with Indian companies, universities and research centres, besides attracting a growing number of Indian tourists.
Firstsource has a base in Belfast and its second office in Londonderry was inaugurated by the secretary for Northern Ireland Peter Hain earlier this week amidst considerable local bonhomie over the creation of new jobs. The event was attended by Mayor Helen Quigley, among others.
Firstsource Managing Director Ananda Mukerji said the company planned to employ up to 570 people at the Londonderry centre by 2008, with around 400 other jobs at its Belfast base.
Exuding optimism over setting up the company's second office in Northern Ireland, Mukerji said that since its arrival in Londonderry, Firstsource's British business had grown to such an extent that the initial job target may soon be passed.
He said his company was attracted to Northern Ireland and Londonderry by the quality of the skills base as well as help offered by Invest Northern Ireland. The company has several call centres in India, the US and Argentina and mainly works in the area of banking, retail and media.
"Our investment is expected to deliver 14 million pounds in wages and salaries annually into the local economy. This new facility in the heart of Derry has been fully embraced by the local community and I am confident that it will strengthen our position as a global leader," Mukerji said at the inaugural function.
Welcoming the company, Hain said that by 2008 Firstsource would become a major employer and valuable contributor to the Northern Ireland economy.
Hain said: "This is a tremendous endorsement of the skills base which the region has to offer and in particular highlights the ongoing development and regeneration of the northwest.
"By locating in Londonderry and Belfast, Firstsource has not only provided a major boost to the local economy, it has reinforced the entire Northern Ireland proposition on a global scale, positioning the region for further investment opportunities, particularly from a sector with high growth potential."
Mayor Helen Quigley guaranteed the company officials that they would find an "ambitious and proactive" workforce in the city.