Newcel Paper Converters Limited was established in 1973 by three work colleagues who shared the dream to ‘become their own boss’. Each of the three brought a special talent to the corporate table. Jim Walsh was a draftsman who had a flair for sales, his brother Oliver was a talented engineer and Niall McGurk had a background in production management.
Their baby company grew against all the odds in the troubled Northern Ireland of the 1970’s and the location of their first factory in Crossmaglen Co. Armagh presented both opportunities and obstacles in equal measure.
In 1981 the directors purchased land at Carnbane Industrial Estate in Newry and built a bespoke factory to accommodate their ever- increasing need for additional production space.
A management buy-in in 1989 gave 100% shareholding to the McGurk family with the involvement of son and daughter, Eunan McGurk and Feithlinn McCullagh in sales and finance respectively.
In 1997 a decision was taken to reduce Newcel’s sales exposure to the multiple retail groups (which stood at 70%) as management forecasted lower profit margins and increased competition in the retail sector. A multi million pound investment programme was effected which opened up new opportunities in the ‘away from home’ market – a sector which today accounts for 95% of Newcel’s turnover.
In 1995 ‘Sir Niall’ was awarded a Papal Knighthood for his services to industry and charity – the first award of its kind given to any citizen in Newry city.
Sadly, 1999 saw the passing of Niall McGurk, the last of the ‘3 work colleagues’ but their dream lives on and prospers today.
This year Newcel celebrates its 41st birthday, has 4 production lines in 2 factories, enjoys double-digit sales growth and is planning future growth through acquisition.