Monday 22 July 2019

West of Ireland co-op Aurivo unveils investment programme worth €48m

Aurivo CEO Aaron Forde
Aurivo CEO Aaron Forde
Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

Aurivo, the agri-foods business behind brands including Connacht Gold and Donegal Creameries, is to launch a €48m, five-year, capital investment programme.

Co-operatively owned Aurivo is one of the biggest food producers in the west of Ireland, and was among the potential bidders for cross-border rival LacPatrick, losing out to Lakeland Diaries.

Aurivo CEO Aaron Forde said the business remains a potential consolidator in the sector, but is also pursuing its own strategic plan, focused on the investment programme.

The plan includes a €26m investment to boost capacity at the Aurivo Dairy Ingredients plant in Ballaghaderreen, Co Roscommon. In addition, a €7m investment is planned for a liquid milk processing facility in Killygordon, Co Donegal, and €10m is earmarked for the Homeland retail business, including new store openings in the north.

The programme is being funded from a mix of retained earnings, a banking syndicate of AIB, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank and capital from the society membership, Mr Forde said. The investment has also been supported through Enterprise Ireland. It is aimed at ensuring capacity to support growth in oversees markets in particular, where there is "fantastic demand" across markets, Mr Forde said.

The investment will see milk-processing increase by 25pc, to 500 million litres annually by 2022 and dairy ingredients capacity increase by 50pc.

"This is all about working to achieve our vision to outperform our peers by becoming leaders in our chosen markets, regionally, nationally and internationally," he said.

Key Aurivo export products include butter - sold under the Kerry Gold brand mainly to continental Europe - notably Germany - as well as the US; and enriched milk powder which is marketed in African and Middle Eastern markets as an adult nutrition product.

In relation to potential mergers, Mr Forde said Aurivo had looked at LacPatrick and has "an open mind around consolidation".

"We have our strategic plan and we'd look to people where there are mutual benefits."

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