Farm Ireland

Thursday 23 November 2017

Danone to invest €50m in Macroom expansion

Declan O’Brien

LEADING yoghurt and baby food maker Danone will create more than 40 new jobs in a major expansion of its processing facility in the west Cork town of Macroom.

The €50m investment is a positive development for Dairygold, which supplies the bulk of the baby nutrition plant's processed whey.

Close to 200 jobs will be created during the construction phase of the expansion, with around 40 full-time posts coming on stream once the plant is fully operational.

Construction is due to begin in February, with the plant due to start production early in 2012.

Danone is a world leader in dairy, water and baby nutrition products, with well-known brands including Actimel, Evian and Cow & Gate.

Its manufacturing plant in Macroom produces infant and follow-on baby formula, which is marketed under the Cow & Gate and Actimel brands.

The expansion of the Macroom facility will significantly increase the production capacity of the Cork site. The creation of a new drying line at the factory is expected to increase annual capacity by around 100,000t.

Close to 98pc of the output will go for export. Industry sources suggest that the amount of processed whey that Danone needs as a result of the investment will soar by 300pc.

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This represents a major boost for local dairy co-op Dairygold, which supplies the vast bulk of Danone's milk requirements.

The expansion plan will treble the company's Irish raw material spend to €65m and grow exports by €150m.

The company is also to develop a research centre of excellence at the Macroom site.

Minister for Agriculture Brendan Smith said: “This is a highly mobile project and Ireland faced stiff opposition from a number of other countries.”

The Minister for Enterprise, Batt O’Keeffe, said Danone’s decision was important in both a strategic and economic sense.

“The impact of the €50m programme will be felt across a number of fronts,” he said.

Minister O’Keeffe said the investment would boost employment, exports and local demand for dairy produce.

Donal Courtney, managing director of Danone Baby Nutrition, said the decision reflected the company’s commitment to Ireland and to its west Cork base.