C&D Foods buys Dutch canning facility from Nestle
C&D Foods, the Longford-based pet food manufacturer that is 50pc-owned by beef baron Larry Goodman, has acquired a canning facility in the Netherlands from Nestle. It is likely to provide a springboard for the company into mainland Europe.
It marks the first time the company will have a canning operation since fire destroyed that part of the business in Longford in 2006.
Philip Reynolds, managing director of C&D, said the company planned an immediate investment of €2.5m in the Dutch plant, which is located at Ijmuiden Port, close to Amsterdam, and extends over 140,000sq ft.
Of the 100 staff originally employed at the plant, 84 will be retained. Nestle previously used the factory to make its Purina range of pet foods.
C&D will continue to make Purina pet food at the factory under licence from Nestle for the Dutch market.
However, that contract will only comprise about 10pc of the facility's output. Most of the other output will initially be shipped to the UK and Ireland.
Speaking from Amsterdam, Mr Reynolds told the Irish Independent that C&D had thought "long and hard" about whether to re-establish a canning facility at Edgeworthstown.
However, he said that as a manufacturer of individual pouch servings, the Irish operation was better able to compete on a cost basis with its peers.
The Longford factory employs 250 people, while C&D employs a further 90 in the UK, where it makes dry pet food. Its output is sold as own-label product to supermarkets around Ireland and the UK and Mr Reynolds said he hoped to replicate that model in mainland Europe.
He declined to say how much C&D had paid for the factory in the Netherlands, but said the acquisition process began nearly a year ago.
A major fire in 2006 destroyed C&D's canning operation in Longford.
Larry Goodman acquired a 50pc stake in C&D in 2008, buying 40pc of the firm from Philip Reynolds and a 10pc holding from former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds.
About €30m has been invested in the Longford factory over the past 18 months. In 2008, C&D recorded an operating loss of €1m as turnover jumped 18pc to almost €67m. Its turnover is currently running at an annualised rate of more than €100m.