Animal feed firm secures Asia deal

The animal feed company, Connolly’s Red Mills, has become the first in the world to secure a licence to export horse feed from Ireland to mainland China.

In a deal that could be worth millions, the firm has become the first horse feed company to secure a route to market in China.

Managing director Joe Connolly said the Kilkenny- based company had been trying to export into China for many years.

“We embarked on the Chinese registration process in 2007 and are delighted to see it come to fruition. Although the Chinese horse market is still emerging, there is considerable potential and advantage for us by being first past the post.”

The domestic horse feed business has been hit by the recession in recent years. Mr Connolly said the new deal would initially take up the production of tonnage that had been lost due to the decline in sales in Ireland.

He said if the deal was successful, there would be an increase in the number of jobs at the company’s Goresbridge plant.

The firm employs 200 people and already exports to Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan.

Mr Connolly said the difference with exporting to China is that separate negotiations with a number of different ministries need to take place to secure a route to market.

“It is very difficult to estimate the value of this business, but the potential as first mover could be very significant. The first orders could be in the hundreds of thousands,” he said.

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