Glanbia Cheese’s new €130m mozzarella cheese manufacturing facility in Portlaoise, Co Laois, will have a production capacity of 45,000 tons per annum.
Glanbia Cheese is a joint venture business between Glanbia plc and Leprino Foods, a mozzarella producer headquartered in Denver, Colorado, USA.
Siobhán Talbot, Glanbia group managing director, said: “Our partnership with Leprino Foods has been very successful for both partners to date and we are very positive about the potential of this new venture.
“We have worked closely with Enterprise Ireland on this project and are very appreciative of their support and commitment.”
Some 78 full-time jobs will be created at the plant at the recently established Togher National Industrial Estate in Portlaoise. A further 250 jobs will be created during the construction phase.
If planning permission is achieved, construction will commence later this year and the new facility would be expected to begin production in 2020.
Glanbia and Leprino Foods already have a successful existing joint venture partnership in Glanbia Cheese Ltd, which was established in 2000 and has large- scale manufacturing operations in Llangefni in Wales and in Magheralin, Northern Ireland. Glanbia Cheese is the leading mozzarella manufacturer in Europe.
The new investment will build upon this successful partnership while the new scalable facility will provide bespoke cheese solutions for customers across Europe.
Mike Durkin, president of Leprino Foods, said:
"It also reflects a desire to increase our presence and benefit from having a facility that is in close proximity to the growing European markets".
Glanbia Cheese’s Portlaoise facility will source most of its key raw materials from Glanbia Ireland.
The facility will supply products to customers in the food service sector of the pizza category across Europe.
Julie Sinnamon, Enterprise Ireland CEO, added: “This significant investment project was won for Ireland and Laois against strong competition from many other locations. The result of this investment is 78 jobs plus 250 in the construction phase, with a positive impact to the region, supporting sustainable economic growth, regional development, and secure employment.”
Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan wished Glanbia, Leprino Foods, and Enterprise Ireland success with the new venture, which he described as a welcome boost to the economy of Portlaoise.