Agri-food companies claim top Ireland France awards at ceremony

Agri-food firms Danone and Tanco have won the two top prizes at the Ireland France Business Awards.

Infant formula manufacturer Danone won the Best French Company in Ireland award. Tanco Autowrap, the Carlow-based agricultural machinery company, was the joint winner of the Best Irish Company in France award, along with wastewater treatment systems manufacturer Tricel SASU, a French subsidiary of KMG based in Killarney.

The annual awards, run by the Ireland France Chamber of Commerce and Network Irlande recognise outstanding business performance and bilateral trade between Ireland and France. This year’s awards were sponsored by BNP Paribas.

Danone and Tanco are the first agri-food companies to win an award since the Keenan Group in 2008. Other recent winners have included Egis Projects, Open Hydro Technology, Geodis, Smurfit Kappa, Ecocem, and Data Display.

“A broad range of sectors were represented, highlighting the valuable and real business opportunities that exist between Ireland and France at a time when international trade is a key driver of recovery,” said Gerry Halpenny, president of the Ireland France Chamber of Commerce and partner at LK Shields Solicitors.

“The jury was extremely impressed by the quality of this year’s entrants and also by the high number of applications submitted which led to very strong competition.”

Danone’s two plants in Macroom, Co Cork, and Wexford have seen an increased turnover of almost 60% in the past three years.

Over the next three years, Danone Ireland’s output is expected to hit 120,000 tonnes of formula, marketed under the Aptamil and Cow & Gate brands in Ireland and Britain, and as other brands across Europe.

Danone International is made up of dairy, water, baby nutrition, and baby medical nutrition divisions. The Macroom plant is a baby nutrition division, while its formula products are packed in Wexford.

The judges acknowledged Danone’s commitment to corporate social res-ponsibility initiatives and to reducing carbon emissions.

The Danone plant in Wexford is in the process of installing a woodchip-based energy system which will dramatically cut emissions and reduce energy costs.

Tanco Autowrap in Bagenalstown was recognised for its success in exporting bale wrapping machinery to the French market. The company has a sales distribution and customer support hub in Dijon and partners with Klaas and John Deere as well as independent dealers in selling its machines to French farmers. The firm exports to more than 30 countries and is targeting 20% of the French baler market by the end of 2014.

Tricel Sasu, a subsidiary of Killarney Manufacturing Group (KMG), was the other joint winner of the Best Irish Company in France award. The company is now the market leader in France in wastewater treatment systems for the domestic and industrial sectors.

The Ireland France Chamber of Commerce is the third largest bilateral trade association in Ireland with 150 member companies and is represented by over 200 senior French and Irish executives.

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