Aurivo invests €6m to improve Donegal milk processing plant

Cream of the crop: Aurivo’s investment at Donegal will double production and slash fossil fuel use
Cream of the crop: Aurivo’s investment at Donegal will double production and slash fossil fuel use

Shawn Pogatchnik

AURIVO, one of Ireland's largest milk producers, said yesterday it has completed a €6m investment in Donegal that will double production and slash fossil fuel use at its milk processing plant in Killygordon.

The announcement - part of a €48m, five-year investment programme announced last year by the agri-food co-operative - will support 120 jobs in Killygordon, which processes milk from farms produced in 14 counties on both sides of the Border.

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Aurivo chairman Pat Duffy said improved efficiencies at Killygordon would help to strengthen the company's ability to cope with Brexit-related difficulties.

"These are indeed challenging times for the Irish dairy sector. We are acutely conscious that in the event of a no-deal Brexit, with dairy products being hit the hardest, the impact of tariff barriers and bureaucracy will have a hugely negative impact on farmers," Mr Duffy said. "As a co-op, Aurivo is focused on making our suppliers' businesses as profitable and sustainable as possible, and since Brexit became a reality in 2016, we have been developing plans to ensure that we can efficiently process and market milk supply."

The facility in Killygordon produces milk used to make dairy products bearing the Connacht Gold, Donegal Creameries and Organic for Us brands stocked by most grocers nationwide.

Improvements at the Donegal facility include installation of a larger pasteuriser, separator and homogeniser and milk standardising equipment which together are expected to boost hourly capacity by 80pc.

Aurivo said a new advanced packaging device for 1.5 litre, 1.75 litre and two litre biopack cartons will use 75pc less plastic and produce containers that are fully recyclable and use no fossil-based plastic. The wider investment plan includes a €26m commitment to boost capacity at the Aurivo Dairy Ingredients plant in Ballaghaderreen, Co Roscommon, while €10m is earmarked for the Homeland retail business, including new store openings in Northern Ireland.

The investment programme is backed by Enterprise Ireland and financed from retained earnings, capital from the society's membership, and a banking syndicate of AIB, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank.

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Aurivo's key exports include Kerrygold butter sold in continental Europe, particularly Germany, and in the United States.

It also markets enriched milk powder in African and Middle Eastern markets as an adult nutrition product.

Irish Independent

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