Friday 30 September 2016

Firm has marketing arms all over world

Published 22/04/2016 | 02:30

Ornua CEO Kevin Lane and Saeed Bajwaber, chairman of Al Wazeen Trading, at the opening of Ornua cheese manufacturing facility in Riyadh last month
Ornua CEO Kevin Lane and Saeed Bajwaber, chairman of Al Wazeen Trading, at the opening of Ornua cheese manufacturing facility in Riyadh last month

It's over a year since the Irish Dairy Board underwent its rebranding exercise to shed its old identity and become the slicker new corporate entity - Ornua: The Home of Irish Dairy.

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And, that's precisely what Ornua is all about, marketing Ireland's quality dairy produce. It was felt the old name linked it to State institutions rather than a firm working to create a global brand for Irish dairy. And from that Ornua, which hails from the Irish words for gold, ór, and new, nua, was born.

In effect, Ornua is a conglomerate of the traditional Irish dairy co-operatives where farmers' milk is collected, pasteurised and turned into valuable products such as butter, cheese, liquid milk or milk powders.

However, it takes the various products from its co-operative members, just as it has since it was set up more than half a century ago as An Bord Bainne.

It then brands it, packages it and exports it for foreign soils, with its prize cow the well-known Kerrygold butter and cheese brand. Ornua is behind the export of around 60pc of Ireland's dairy products to more than 110 countries. The figures show despite the challenges with the Russian ban on EU foods, the slump in China and the decline in purchasing powder in oil dependent countries, the turnover has been climbing, with a 9pc rise last year to €2.54bn. Its Kerrygold sales have soared to €740m, with record volume of sales in Germany and also in the US, where it is now the number three branded butter.

Yet it also has other brands under its wings such as cheddar cheese Pilgrims Choice, Dubliner, Beo and Eureka brands.

It has more than 3,600 staff with sales and marketing teams throughout the world from Algiers to Beijing to Lagos and LA, with 15 subsidiaries worldwide including in China, Germany, Middle East and the US. It has made significant investments in countries with a view to strengthening its foothold, with a new Kerrygold powder packing facility opened in Lagos, Nigeria.

It also moved to acquire a Shanghai plant, Ambrosia Dairy, and is working to complete a facility where milk powder will be turned into a local market favourite, a white cheese, by Ornua Saudi Arabia in Riyadh. Expansion continues with the Kerrygold Park, a butter production and packaging facility, sitting alongside the Dairygold facilities in Mitchelstown, Co Cork, due to open shortly.

Irish Independent

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