Belfast packaging firm MSO Cleland to create 35 new jobs

£5m investment the result of MSO Cleland Ltd developing a growth strategy and preparing its workforce for an exciting new phase.

East Belfast packaging company MSO Cleland Ltd is to tap further into growing demand for sustainable packaging by making a £5m investment in its business and creating 35 jobs.

MSO specialises in complete packaging solutions from design through to delivery of cartonboard packaging and labels for the food and drink, and pharmaceutical sectors.

“With Covid-19, it may seem a strange time to many to make this investment, but we’ve been laying the foundations for the last number of years”

Joanna Calixto, managing director of MSO Cleland said: “Since taking over MSO in 2013, we have significantly restructured our business and worked hard to rebuild an impressive reputation in the packaging industry across the UK, ROI and increasingly into Europe.

“We have just installed a new state of the art Heidelberg Lithographic printing press and over the next two months will be taking delivery from Bobst of Die Cutting and Gluing machinery. Invest NI’s support has been invaluable in helping us make this investment.”

Knowledge transfer leads to sustainable future

Man and woman in an office.

Pictured: Kevin Holland, CEO, Invest NI with Joanna Calixto, Managing Director, MSO Cleland

In 2018, the company benefited from a Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Ulster University, which helped it to increase its technical knowledge and move into the manufacturing of sustainable packaging.

“With Covid-19, it may seem a strange time to many to make this investment, but we’ve been laying the foundations for the last number of years. This has included creating our growth strategy and setting up our apprenticeship scheme, focusing on the right skills set and business culture for our workforce in preparation for this next phase.

“This investment gives us the latest capabilities, enabling us to continue to innovate and add value to our customers’ packaging.”

Invest Northern Ireland CEO Kevin Holland said the investment was an important strategic step for MSO Cleland.

“It has clearly identified a business opportunity and is investing to capitalise on it.

“Over the last number of years, demand for sustainable packaging has surged as companies and consumers look to reduce their dependency on plastic packaging. Recognising this, MSO is investing £5m to purchase new equipment, which will help it to build a strong and solid competitive position. In addition, the 35 new jobs will contribute £800,000 in annual salaries for the Northern Ireland economy and will help the company to accelerate its growth internationally.

“This announcement is a welcome boost for Northern Ireland’s manufacturing industry as the sector works to recover from the challenges of Covid-19,” said Holland.

By John Kennedy (

Published: 9 October, 2020