BLACKBURN is at the hub of an international software development corporation that has more than 1,300 employees spanning four continents.

The Nasdaq-quoted AremisSoft Corporation, with its global headquarters in Westmont New Jersey, has its origins in East Lancashire.

The Blackburn site at Glenfield Park is the headquarters of the company's manufacturing division where staff support international operations in Mexico, Australia, India, USA and Argentina.

Only this week, AremisSoft announced a deal to supply Reedley-based Shire Inns with integrated software to support all elements of its hotels business in a deal worth $575,000.

Martin Lynch, sales and marketing director, said the company had a history in Blackburn going back 20 years when a small company called BEC developed what was then a revolutionary range of business software. BEC was acquired in the 1990s by LK Global and the company changed its name to AremisSoft in 1999 when it floated on the Nasdaq in the United States.

"Although we are quoted in the United States, we still see ourselves very much as a UK-based company," said Mr Lynch.

"Blackburn is the lynch pin of our operation and supports our global operations through its programmers, consultants, sales staff and trainers."

The Blackburn operation also provides design and development expertise as well as sales and marketing of the product throughout Europe.

AremisSoft works with medium to large-size companies, with a turnover ranging from £10 million to £250 million.

The company is one of the world's leading suppliers of business software and internet-related solutions for the manufacturing, hospitality, healthcare and construction industries.