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EI invests in marine protein firm BII


Jason Whooley of Bio-marine Ingredients Ireland

Jason Whooley of Bio-marine Ingredients Ireland

Jason Whooley of Bio-marine Ingredients Ireland

Enterprise Ireland has invested €750,000 in Bio-marine Ingredients Ireland (BII), the marine ingredients manufacturer owned by a consortium of Killybegs fishermen.

BII, a joint venture with Norwegian firm Biomarine Science Technology, last month started full commercial production at its €12m processing facility in Lough Egish, Co Monaghan. A fundraising round in June raised €4m.

BII will develop value-added protein products derived from fish sourced in Irish waters. It has also secured planning permission for a second larger facility in Killybegs in Co Donegal which will cost an estimated €35m to develop and will have capacity for 120,000 tonnes of fish. Construction is provisionally scheduled to get under way in 2018.

The bulk of raw material will be purchased from Killybegs processing plants, with 750,000 tonnes of blue whiting fished off Ireland annually.

BII chief executive Jason Whooley, a former ceo of Bord Iascaigh Mhara, said he was "particularly pleased at this vote of confidence from Enterprise Ireland as it is a significant investment from a High Potential Start-Up perspective".

The company aims to provide an efficient new source of sustainably-produced marine protein ingredients suitable for human consumption.

"With ongoing food ingredient inflation and a rising demand for quality protein in the food manufacturing sector, there is a strong and increasing demand for marine-derived nutritional and bioactive ingredients which can both substitute and be complementary to vegetable and animal ingredients," he said.

Whooley said that collaborative initiatives are also advanced with a number of Irish universities and negotiations are progressing with major food companies regarding the end product. BII sees significant opportunities in the Asia Pacific market for protein fortification with the global protein ingredients market projected to be worth $39bn by 2020, he said.

Enterprise Ireland ceo, Julie Sinnamon, said it was "delighted to support the ongoing expansion of Bio-marine Ingredients Ireland as it enters a significant phase of growth through the development of a new facility in Co Monaghan and the subsequent creation of further jobs".

Fifteen of the 25 full-time positions which will be created during the first phase of the company's development are already filled.

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"The level of innovation displayed by BII since its establishment is crucial for Irish companies with global ambition to effectively compete on national and global scales. Enterprise Ireland's investment will help enable BII to scale in international markets and further support innovation within the food industry," said Sinnamon.

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