Heather Humphreys, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, and Arlene Foster, NI Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment, has officially opened Glanbia Ingredients Ireland’s (GII) newly-built milk protein facility on the existing GII site in Virginia, Co. Cavan.
This expansion of the Virginia facility, which processes milk from surrounding counties, and employs 100 people, is specifically designed to meet the exacting technical standards of the clinical and lifestyle nutrition market, a business which is growing worldwide and is predicted to expand by double digits over the next ten years.
GII, Ireland’s leading dairy ingredients company, has ambitious plans for growth. GII is currently investing €200 million in value adding facilities with support from the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation through Enterprise Ireland. This investment programme, one of the largest ever undertaken by an indigenous company, will facilitate farmers and customers in expanding their businesses, particularly as the elimination of quotas in 2015 provides dairy farmers with an opportunity to expand production for the first time in 30 years. Over €7.8 million has been invested in the Virginia plant to build the new milk protein unit, which will more than double current milk protein capacity from 4,000 to 10,000 tonnes. It is a significant boost for the Virginia facility which will also continue its extensive production of enriched milk powders for export markets as well as exclusive cream supply to the global Baileys brand.
Speaking at the launch, Heather Humphreys, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, said: “Glanbia is a very important employer locally, and this significant investment illustrates the company’s commitment to the area. Glanbia’s innovative approach to targeting key growth markets overseas has allowed it to grow exports and establish itself as one of the major players in the Irish agri-food sector. The agri-food sector is not only a very important source of employment in Cavan and Monaghan, it is also helping to drive our jobs recovery across the country. I am delighted that Glanbia is reaffirming its commitment to the area with this latest multi-million euro investment.”
Arlene Foster, Northern Irish Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment, said: “Our food and drink industries both rely on export markets and we should build on our cooperation with Government bodies such as Invest Northern Ireland and Bord Bia continuing to collaborate to promote the free flow of trade across our border. By working together we can achieve much more and ultimately create a platform from which we can collectively sell more into target global markets.
“Glanbia employs a large number of people on both sides of the border, through direct employment and through the supply of milk from dairy farmers, and is an excellent example of the opportunities that cross-border trade and investment brings to both countries. This investment will create a number of new jobs in the border area and I look forward to deepening the strong existing relationships with our friends and colleagues in Cavan.”
Richard Bruton, TD, Minister for Enterprise, Jobs and Innovation, said: “At the heart of our Action Plan for Jobs is our creating a powerful engine of Irish enterprise. Today’s announcement by Glanbia shows what is possible for Irish businesses right across the country. I wish Jim and his team every success with this project, and look forward to working with Glanbia as they continue to expand their operations across Ireland.”
Jim Bergin, CEO of Glanbia Ingredients Ireland, said: “GII has a strong investment programme of over €200m which is designed to position the business for future growth. While we are conscious of current fluctuations in commodity pricing, the long range outlook for the business and for suppliers is positive - with a growing demand from customers for the high quality milk proteins we will be producing here in Virginia.
“The opening of our new plant ensures that both GII and our farmer suppliers will be able to capitalise on the generational opportunity that is provided by the ending of milk quotas next year. We are proud to have been operating in Virginia since 1974 and look forward to continuing to invest in the business with this latest investment confirming our commitment to the plant and the local area.”
Julie Sinnamon, CEO Enterprise Ireland said: “This is a hugely significant and very welcome development for GII and the region. Enterprise Ireland has worked closely with the company in this current major expansionary phase and looks forward to continuing to support GII and the industry, which forms a vital part of the Irish economy.”
GII first launched its range of advanced milk protein powders under the Solmiko brand in 2008 and has since had much success with their application in the clinical nutrition and sports nutrition industries, making it one of the leading suppliers of milk proteins globally. These industries are worth €16 billion and are currently growing at greater than 6% per annum. The new SolmikoHD and SolagoHD variants have higher bulk density and good dispersibility making them easily incorporated into customer formulations using existing processing equipment.
The new facility in Virginia reinforces GII’s credentials on sustainability and conservation, and uses additional membrane technology that polishes and removes all remaining solids from the water extracted from the process, making it re-usable so no additional water is required for the new plant.