BALLINEEN’S Carbery Group has announced its plans to begin the expansion of its production facility at its Ballineen site. In the planning for some time, the new plant represents a €78 million investment by Carbery Group into this diversification project.
The investment will allow the West Cork-based organisation to diversify from its exclusive production of cheddar cheese into an expanded range of new cheese offerings. This is in response to increased market growth and consumer demand for mozzarella and other cheese varieties in emerging markets.
The new production facility also signifies increased milk production capacity at the site, which will have the capacity to process 4 million litres of milk each day. As a result, the operation will be one of the largest diversified cheese manufacturing sites in Europe.
With construction planned for completion in early 2020, the investment will future-proof Carbery’s capability to process all of the milk produced by its shareholders and farmer partners out to 2030 and beyond. The group – which is owned by the four West Cork dairy co-ops – will be increasing its borrowings to fund the investment and thus will not seek to raise additional capital through its shareholder base.
Speaking about the investment, Jason Hawkins, chief executive officer of the Carbery Group, said: ‘Product and market diversification has always been a core part of our business and ongoing strategy, with this project in the planning for almost two years. As a global organisation, we are constantly looking to international consumption trends to further grow our offering and our business.
‘Cheese such as mozzarella provide us with a more diversified product range and an opportunity to build a stronger foothold in new and emerging cheese markets such as Asia and the Middle East, while also providing us with a new product range and market opportunities, in sectors such as foodservice.’
Carbery’s plans for cheese diversification will enable the business to harness the significant increase in consumer cheese consumption in Asian markets, as consumers seek high quality, sustainably produced products.
Carbery Group chairman Peter Fleming added: ‘Carbery has traditionally paid a leading milk price to its farmer suppliers. It is the role of the Carbery board to represent the interests of the milk suppliers of West Cork and reinvest in the organisation to secure the future for ourselves and those who come after us. This investment further enhances the organisation’s ability and commitment, to delivering value through a strong milk price, to our shareholders into the future.’
The European Commission has cleared a proposed investment of up to €5.75m in State aid for the project.