Wednesday 23 January 2019

Record €40m EIB backing boosts research at agritech firm Devenish

Devenish CEO Richard Kennedy, EIB vice-president Andrew McDowell and Devenish executive chairman Owen Brennan
Devenish CEO Richard Kennedy, EIB vice-president Andrew McDowell and Devenish executive chairman Owen Brennan

Lisa Smyth

A BELFAST-based agri-technology firm has secured €118m in long-term funding to allow it to press ahead with its research, development and growth plans.

The major refinancing deal for Devenish Nutrition is being made possible by a pioneering investment of €40m from the European Investment Bank (EIB), which is being combined with commitments from the company's new commercial finance partners, Ulster Bank and Danske Bank.

The EIB investment is the largest-ever support for agri-business on the island of Ireland by the EIB, and is also the first support for the agri-business sector in the country under the Investment Plan for Europe, in which the European Commission and EIB are strategic partners.

The investment has been described as a "major financial boost" by Devenish Nutrition CEO Richard Kennedy.

The EIB loan will enable Devenish to develop a purpose-built Global Innovation Centre in Dowth, Co Meath, from where it will develop and showcase its 'One Health - from Soil to Society' research, development and innovation programme.

It will also fund innovation-related capital projects and research into optimised animal nutrition, food innovation, health and sustainability. "The EIB funds will form part of a major investment to develop Devenish's research, development and innovation capability across Ireland and the UK," said Mr Kennedy.

"A significant amount of this investment will go towards developing performance houses and sustainable production systems in the Irish and UK markets - including Northern Ireland."

Devenish has ambitious long-term growth plans.

By 2021, it aims to increase turnover by more than £100m to around £315m and add over 100 jobs to its current 450-strong international employee base.

"This major financial boost marks a most significant milestone for Devenish as we seek to realise our vision of becoming the world's leading provider of integrated animal, human and environmental health solutions," Mr Kennedy added.

"This funding will be invested in the business to build and grow our research and development and manufacturing capabilities as well as facilitate our mergers and acquisitions activity."

Irish Independent

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