Ornua opens €20m cheese plant in Saudi Arabia
Ireland's largest exporter of dairy products Ornua has opened a new €20m cheese plant in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
The facility will make white cheeses for the Saudi Arabian market, which is the world's fifth-largest dairy importer.
The Riyadh plant will also act as a central hub for the firm to access dairy markets in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region.
Chief executive of the Kerrygold-maker Kevin Lane said the facility will provide Ornua with a new route to market for Irish dairy. "We now have a manufacturing and trading hub in place to service the high growth dairy market of Saudi Arabia and our growing MENA customer base," Mr Lane said.
New technology developed by Ornua and Teagasc, the food development authority, will be installed at the facility in order to create the range of white cheeses.
The Ornua boss said the ability to innovate and respond to market needs is "key to developing opportunities for Irish dairy".
The new technology allows milk ingredients to be recombined for fresh white cheese production.
The Riyadh plant will also have an innovation hub that will be used to develop cheese solutions with customers.
Teagasc head of food research Mark Fenelon said the new technology "marks a new approach" to cheese manufacturing.
The move follows on from Ornua's acquisition of Shanghai-based dairy manufacturer, Ambrosia. The Ambrosia takeover was the firm's first Chinese deal.