By Conor Kane
Eyecare manufacturer Bausch and Lomb is to create 100 jobs at its plant in Waterford City, bringing the number of people employed there to almost 1,500.
The Waterford expansion is part of a multi-million euro investment in the Canadian healthcare company’s operations in Ireland and Rochester, New Jersey, USA, which make contact lenses and other eye-health products.
The company announced that it is adding new production lines to both plants to increase manufacture of its daily disposable silicone hydrogel contact lenses.
Bausch and Lomb’s Waterford base saw its employment levels increase from just over 1,000 to about 1,350 in the last two years and the expansion will add another 100 jobs to the site which is located at the IDA industrial estate on the city’s Cork Road.
“This investment, which will create 100 new jobs, is a testament to the efforts and commitment of all employees in the Waterford facility,” the company’s Waterford site lead Mark Hennessy said.
He said the investment enables Bausch and Lomb to take advantage of the opportunities emerging in the contact lens and eye-health sector.
“This investment will further strengthen the Waterford plant’s position in supporting Bausch and Lomb’s efforts to increase its share of the contact lens market.”
The investment is supported by IDA Ireland, whose chief executive Martin Shanahan said the news adds to Ireland’s reputation in this sector.
“We are the second largest exporter of MedTech products in Europe with 33% of the global supply of contact lenses made here. Winning investment for regional locations is a key focus for IDA Ireland and the resulting increase in employment this expansion will create is very important for the southeast region.”
Minister of State at that department and Waterford TD John Halligan, said the investment “reaffirms its continued commitment to the county” and was a vote of confidence in what the region has to offer.
Bausch and Lomb’s vice-president for manufacturing and supply chain Damain Finn said the company’s Waterford and Rochester locations “are now synonymous with innovation in the development and manufacture of contact lenses and eye-health products that improve the quality of life for our customers”.
He said the new investment “will support the development of an important new line of contact lenses and represents a new chapter in the success story of collaboration and co-operation between the two sites”.