Farm Ireland

Tuesday 20 February 2018

Dale Farm to invest €43m

Declan O'Brien

Declan O'Brien

Ulster dairy processor Dale Farm is to invest €43m (£39m) in plants in Tyrone and Antrim in one of the largest-ever investments in the Northern dairy sector by a single company.

The farmer-owned processor is to develop a cheddar cheese plant and a whey ultra-filtration facility in Dunmanbridge, Cookstown, Co Tyrone. The new cheese plant will have an annual production of 50,000t.

Dale Farm has also begun work on a major upgrade of its fresh milk and cream facility at its Pennybridge dairy in Ballymena, Co Antrim.

The total investment at the Antrim site is €11m (£10m). This will include a new milk-bottle-blowing-in plant to be provided by international packaging company Nampak, which is investing more than €3.3m (£3m) in the venture.

In addition, €348,000 (£316,000) is being spent on improving the competitiveness of the company's butter-and-dairy-spreads processing and packing operation at Cullybackey, near Ballymena.

The investment programme will create up to 60 new jobs across the company, while helping to secure the jobs of 400 existing employees.

Dale Farm Group chief executive David Dobbin said the investment would also benefit around 2,000 dairy farmers who own the business and supply it and parent co-op United Dairy Farmers.

"This major investment programme will enable us to further develop our added value sales in the UK and Ireland," Mr Dobbin said.

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"In tandem with our other ongoing investments, it will enhance our ability to supply major retail, food-service and ingredients customers."

Dale Farm Group now has substantial processing operations in Northern Ireland, England and Scotland.

Irish Independent