Glanbia Ingredients Ireland is to invest €35m to double peak capacity at its Wexford Cheese plant, with domestic milk output at a record high.
The company’s 4,800 suppliers have produced 22% more milk in the 10 months since the abolition of EU milk quotas.
In 2015, across its four Irish milk processing locations, the company processed over two billion litres of milk for the first time Glanbia Ingredients Ireland .
Glanbia Ingredients Ireland chairman Henry Corbally said: “This latest investment is part of Glanbia’s commitment to meet the growth ambitions of our milk suppliers.
"In the past three years, Glanbia Ingredients Ireland has invested €235m at the company’s milk processing plants at Virginia, Co Cavan, Ballyragget, and Belview Co Kilkenny.
“As well as increasing GII’s cheese processing capacity, the Wexford investment will deliver an additional whey stream for the sports nutrition sector, which is one of Glanbia’s key market sectors,” he said.
If planning approval is secured, plant works would begin in the fourth quarter of 2016. Glanbia acquired Wexford Creamery in May 2014. During 2015, the plant at Rocklands produced almost 20,000 tonnes of high-quality cheddar cheese, as well as a valuable stream of high- quality whey for further processing at GIanbia’s Ballyragget, Co Kilkenny facility.
Glanbia Ingredients Ireland chief executive Jim Bergin, said: “Our milk suppliers in Wexford are among the fastest growing and most progressive in the Glanbia catchment area.
"This investment will also enable further growth in our highly popular Wexford Cheese brand, which is being marketed in Ireland, the UK, the USA and, most recently, the Middle East.”
Jerry Long, dairy chairman of co-op umbrella group Icos, welcomed Glanbia Ingredients Ireland’s investment in Wexford. He also said the strength of the Irish dairy co-operative model is the strong link between farmers and their industry which they own.
“There is no doubt that dairy markets are in a very difficult place, and the outlook for 2016 is not very positive. Nonetheless, markets will improve and we must be in a position to capitalise on the upturn when it comes,” said Mr Long.
Meanwhile, analysts at Davy predict Glanbia’s shareholders will see major full-year growth in share earnings when the company unveils its 2015 results next week.
Davy’s full-year guidance is for 9% to 11% constant currency adjusted earnings per share growth; combined with favourable currency trading, Davy predicts 26% growth in full-year forecasts, with diluted adjusted earnings per share of 76.6c.
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