Tag Archive | "Ireland"

Oakland International Selected as Ireland Distribution Partner by Kepak


BBQ-RIB-FLAT-LO-RESSupply chain and food distribution specialist Oakland International has been appointed by food innovator Kepak Convenience Foods to distribute their Convenience range of products for the three major retailers in Ireland.

Kepak Convenience Foods produces a variety of ‘Hot, Quick & Tasty’ convenience food products for the retail markets in Ireland, the UK and Europe including the ‘Rustlers’; ‘Feasters’ and ‘Speedy Snacks’ ranges, with Oakland engaged to undertake daily stock consolidation and retailer distribution of Kepak Convenience Foods products to Musgraves, Tesco and Dunnes stores across Ireland.

Kepak Convenience Foods Purchasing and Supply Manager, Mairead Lynch, stated: “We are confident that working with Oakland will enhance the overall offering to our customers with improved service levels through a professional and responsive approach. We look forward to building a long term partnership with Oakland for our chilled distribution.”

Richard2aOffering ambient and chilled food retail support for customers from their County Meath depot, Oakland has built a reputation for adding value, leverage and sustainable growth.

Oakland International General Manager, Richard Hill, said: “We are delighted to be asked to support Kepak Convenience Foods’ distribution in Ireland.

“Our practical know-how and success in food storage together with our broad retailer distribution network across the food industry has helped build Oakland’s strong reputation for adding value on behalf of our customers.”

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Irish Grocery Market Shows Biggest Decline Since 2010


The latest supermarket share figures from Kantar Worldpanel in Ireland for the 12 weeks ending 8 July 2012 show the grocery market has fallen by 1.3% compared with the same period last year, the steepest decline since August 2010.

Mark Thomson, business unit director at Kantar Worldpanel, explains: “The economic situation has been tough in Ireland throughout 2012, and consequently consumers have been looking to control their spend at the weekly shop. Shoppers have spent Eur26.8 million less at the tills than they did during this period last year as household budgets remain squeezed. This has also resulted in a 1.9% rise in sales of own label products as consumers try to control their weekly spend. This trend is bolstered by the strong growth of discount retailers who predominately stock their own range of brands.”

He continues: “Aldi and Lidl now have a combined share of 12.2% and are the big winners from austerity shopping, with respective growth rates of 22.5% and 3.4%. Tesco has also performed strongly, extending its market-leading share to 28.7% this quarter. This has been driven largely by good performance across key areas of the store such as fresh and chilled products.”

Despite ongoing pressures on the grocery market and Ireland’s early exit from the Euro 2012 championships, shopper spend on alcohol was up 3.6% over the latest period with discounters seeing the biggest jump in sales.

Grocery inflation stands at 2.7% for the 12 week period ending 8th July 2012, up from 2.6% in the previous period but significantly below the 3.8% seen in July 2011.

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Glanbia to Close Yoplait Yoghurt Facility


Glanbia, the Irish and international nutritional solutions and cheese group, is selling the Yoplait franchise forIreland back to brand owner Yoplait for a cash consideration of €18 million. However, as a consequence of this decision, production will cease at Glanbia’s yoghurt facility in Inch, County Wexford.

While Glanbia has held the Yoplait franchise for the manufacture and sale of the brand in Ireland since 1973, the decision to move away from the franchise model recognises the current challenging Irish retail environment. Under a new agreement, Glanbia will continue to distribute Yoplait branded products and provide field sales support through its Consumer Products business based in Dublin.

Yoplait will progressively take over responsibility for production, marketing and account management in theRepublic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Glanbia’s Consumer Products business will continue to focus on ongoing innovation and the development of its core beverage and food brands.

 

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New Technology Transfer Strategy For Irish Food Companies


A new Food Technology and Knowledge Transfer Strategy to support Irish food companies has been launched in Dublin by Teagasc, the Irish Agriculture and Food Development Authority. Teagasc’s Portfolio of Food Technologies opens five gateways, or opportunities for food companies to utilize and exploit. These include a comprehensive resource of technology offers, updates, services, expertise and scientists, available to food companies to actively engage with.

Research is recognised as the path to innovation and commercialization and Teagasc already engages with over 300 Irish food companies annually, helping them to develop, create value and improve competitiveness. Teagasc invests over Eur15 million annually in food research to support science based innovation in the food sector. Working in collaboration with other scientific organisations, government departments and state agencies, Teagasc is developing scientific platforms to deliver solutions for the food industry.

The five Teagasc Food Technology Gateways are:

* Technology Offers; Patent applications have been filed for some technologies and partner companies are being sought for further development and licensing.

* Technology Updates: As new technologies are progressed and discovered regular updates will flow out to potential industry partners.

* Technology Services: Pilot Plant facilities in Moorepark and Ashtown are available and easily accessible by food companies.

* Technology Expertise: Technology services, expertise, facilities, technical training, consultancy and product development services are offered.

* Technology Profiles: Teagasc scientists work in collaboration with some of the best scientists and researchers from around the world.

The Teagasc Food Technology and Knowledge Transfer Strategy is the start of a continuous process, with live offers, regular updates and follow through for companies who are seeking innovative solutions in the areas of food bioscience, chemistry and technology, industry and development and food safety.

Teagasc director Professor Gerry Boyle says: “Achieving the ambitious targets in Food Harvest 2020 will require significant investment by food companies in innovation. Teagasc research can help food companies develop a stronger culture of innovation to achieve growth and enhance employment opportunities. This new technology transfer strategy supports the agri-food sector to turn knowledge into commercial products and processes.”

The Irish food sector had a turnover of Eur24 billion and exports of Eur8.85 billion in 2011. Two thirds of those exports came from indigenous Irish owned companies.

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Hain Celestial Makes Strategic Irish Acquisition


Hain Celestial Group, the US-based natural and organic products manufacturer, is extending its international presence into Ireland with the acquisition of Cully & Sully. Cully & Sully is a marketer and manufacturer of natural chilled soups, savory pies and hot pots, all under the Cully & Sully brand, with a range of approximately 20 products. Cully & Sully supplies all major food retailers in Ireland. The founding management team of Cullen Allen (Cully) and Colum O’Sullivan (Sully) will continue to manage all aspects of Cully & Sully reporting to Rob Burnett, chief executive of Hain Daniels Group.

Irwin Simon, founder, president and chief executive of Hain Celestial, comments: “Cully & Sully’s branded soup is similar to our New Covent Garden Soup Co brand in the United Kingdom. We are excited about the prospects to expand our presence into the Irish marketplace with our Hain Celestial and Daniels brands and to expand Cully & Sully chilled fresh soups into the United Kingdom. We see a tremendous opportunity for chilled soups as consumers move away from canned soups and into fresh chilled soups. We also welcome two energetic, creative entrepreneurs, Cully and Sully, to the Hain Celestial Europe team.  We hope to utilize Cully and Sully’s knowledge and expertise for Hain Daniels and here in the United States as we move chilled fresh soups to the North American marketplace.”

The acquisition is expected to be neutral to Hain Celestial’s earnings in fiscal year 2012 and to be accretive to earnings in fiscal year 2013. Details of the transaction were not disclosed.

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€6 Billion Irish Food Service Industry Unites


The Irish food service sector has joined forces to create a new industry body – The Irish Foodservice Suppliers Alliance (IFSA). Previously the Catering Equipment Association (CEA), the IFSA has been formed with the aim of establishing and maintaining a collective agreement of standards and objectives for the overall food service suppliers industry in Ireland.

The objective of the IFSA is to promote, develop and enhance the position of all food service suppliers in the industry as, not just a lobby group, but as a group that can collectively drive the whole industry forward. 

Although it has over the last few years suffered particular pressure due to a decrease in consumer spending, legacy rents and rates, and spiralling utility costs on top of labour market restraints and downward price pressure, food service is still a Eur6 billion market in Ireland (equating to Eur1.8 billion at operator purchase prices). Many businesses have not only survived the recession but emerged with a new passion to succeed, a focus on customer satisfaction and commitment to providing an enhanced quality of service and value.

Julie Morrissey (pictured), chairperson of IFSA, comments: “I firmly believe that the future of food service in Ireland is very bright. Ireland is being recognised as a place to do smart business on the global economic stage. I believe we will continue to see the expansion of this smarter economy and with it the expansion of the corporate catering sector. After a difficult few years we are left with some really fantastic hotels, pubs and restaurants. These will be the foodservice establishments that are leaner and keener and better than ever before, these are the business that will continue to boost Ireland’s reputation as a great place in which to travel, live and do business.”

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Dairygold Reports Strong 2011 Performance


Strong returns from international dairy markets and increasing on farm milk production, which created higher processing throughputs, helped Dairygold, the Irish farmers co-operative, to generate an operating profit on its core activities of Eur22.6 million for 2011, a 19.6% increase on the 2010 figure. Dairygold’s optimisation of its product and customer mix, together with improved operating efficiencies helped to increase profitability.

Turnover in 2011 was Eur757.8 million – up 9.3% on the previous year. The increase was generated across the main business activities of dairy processing and agri trading.

Dairygold’s dairy processing division (Dairygold Food Ingredients) had a strong year. Dairygold has well invested and highly efficient processing facilities which benefited from investments of over Eur60 million in the last four years. The investment included an upgrade at Dairygold’s ingredients facility at Mitchelstown to facilitate the increased supply requirements of the expanded Danone infant formula facility at Macroom.

Dairygold chief executive Jim Woulfe comments: “In the dairy operations, improved markets and the higher throughput increased turnover and this along with continuous improvement in efficiencies helped to deliver improved results. The agri operations benefitted from increased on-farm activity which helped the performance of the fertiliser and feed businesses.”

In 2011 Dairygold invested a total of Eur33.9 million in the business – Eur15.4 million in capital expenditure and Eur18.5 million in acquiring a portfolio of strategic property assets from Reox Holdings. The co-op’s net debt was reduced by Eur13.6 million before the investment of Eur18.5 million on the acquisition of a portfolio of assets from Reox Holdings, which increased the net debt by Eur4.9 million to Eur67.2m at the year end.

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Bord Bia and Tesco Assist Irish Companies to Grow at Retail Level


Bord Bia (the Irish Food Board) and Tesco have developed a programme, to help food and drink companies to develop the required skills to achieve sustainable growth at multiple retail level. This comprehensive retail programme will equip participants with the necessary skills required to secure, grow and maintain a listing with Tesco. The programme will involve three different levels – Local, National and Export – to assist small, medium and large sized companies in growing to the next level of business with Tesco. The programme is being supported by Enterprise Ireland.

Sixteen companies covering the dairy, seafood, ready meals, beverage, frozen and ambient sectors have been selected to participate on the programme. Clear objectives and targets will be set for each company partaking to help them achieve key opportunities identified for their business with Tesco. The programme will consist of workshops, bespoke mentoring and access to relevant Tesco consumer data and consumer insights. At present, the Irish grocery market is valued at Eur8.8 billion.

Aidan Cotter, chief executive of Bord Bia, comments: ”The Irish food industry is experiencing strong growth in export markets yet the domestic market remains challenging, with spending under pressure and consumers searching for value. Based on Eurostat data, food prices in Ireland today are just 3 to 4 per cent above their level of seven years ago. By comparison, in the euro area as a whole they have grown by 15%, and in the UK by as much as 35%, a period moreover of strong commodity price inflation. It is vital in this environment that Irish food and drink companies work with the retail sector to build their competitiveness on the domestic and export markets alike. This programme with Tesco is designed to arm the participating companies with the insight required to have success at home and the opportunity to expand abroad.”

 

CAPTION:

Pictured at the launch were Aidan Cotter, chief executive of Bord Bia; Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD; Tony Keohane, chief executive of Tesco Ireland; and Maxine Hyde, Ballymaloe Country Relish.

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International Buyers With Purchasing Power of €18 billion Attend Irish Food and Drink Event


The Irish food and drink industry’s ambitions for growth and expansion moved a further step forward today when over 520 food buyers from 28 countries across four continents, gathered at Dublin’s Convention Centre to attend Marketplace International 2012, a major one-day business development event organised by Bord Bia. Some 177 Irish food and drink companies, ranging in size and profile from small enterprises to multinationals, are meeting with targeted buyers during 4,500 pre-scheduled ‘speed-dating’ style meetings taking place throughout the day.

The trade buyers, with a collective buying power in excess of €18 billion, represent some of the world’s key retail and food service operators including Sainsburys, Selfridges, Tesco, Asda, Carrefour, Delhaize (Belgium), Mercadona (Spain) and Alcampo (Spain). Marketplace International 2012 is the largest buyer event Bord Bia has ever staged.

In addition to a strong representation of UK and European buyers, 14 representatives from leading Chinese retail and food service companies travelled to the event; while 17 buyers from the Middle East and 12 from Russia also attended.

The value of Irish food and drink exports increased by 12%, or €1 billion, in 2011 to reach an all-time high of €8.85 billion. It is estimated that volume growth accounted for 25% of the rise in food and drink exports. The strongest performing categories were dairy (€2.6 billion), meat (€2.59 billion), prepared foods (€1.5 billion) and seafood (€420 million). The value of exports outside of Europe grew by 20%, or €350 million, to reach almost €2.2 billion.

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Diageo to Invest €153 Million in Dublin Brewery


Diageo is to make a capital investment of Eur153 million in a brewing centre of excellence at its famous St James’s Gate site in Dublin. The decision follows a major review looking at how Diageo can best ensure the long term sustainability of its brewing operations in Ireland.

The capital investment programme will result in a rejuvenation of the historic St James’s Gate Brewery, resulting in the creation of 300 construction jobs during the building of a new brewhouse, which will get underway, subject to planning permission, in the first half of this year. The plans for implementation at St James’s Gate over the next two years will be an important part of securing the long term competitiveness of Diageo’s beer business and by concentrating all brewing activity on the St James’s Gate site will underpin the company’s commitment to Ireland.

David Gosnell, president of Diageo Global Supply, comments: “The decision to consolidate to the St James’ Gate site is fundamental to delivering the competitiveness necessary for the long term sustainability of our brewing in Ireland. This is a significant investment and an expression of confidence by Diageo in our Irish operations.”

The scope of the proposed brewery development includes (subject to planning permission):

* A new brewhouse facility on the Northlands of St James’s Gate (Victoria Quay).

* The new brewhouse volume will have a capacity of approximately 7 million hectolitres.

*A new grain intake building and associated silos.

* An extension of the existing fermentation plant to the southwest of the new brewery.

* Extension to utilities generation and distribution.

The centralisation of all Diageo Irish brewing activities at one site, which was first announced in 2008, will entail the ceasing of brewing activities at Kilkenny and Dundalk. Originally, the two breweries were due to close by the end of 2012 but this has been deferred. These sites are now scheduled for closure in July 2013 (Dundalk) and December 2013 (Kilkenny) subject to planning and construction timelines at St James’s Gate.

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Ireland’s Food and Drink Exports Reach Record Levels


The value of Irish food and drink exports increased by 12%, or Eur1 billion, in 2011 to reach an all-time high of Eur8.85 billion, according to Bord Bia, the Irish Food Board. For the first nine months of the year, food and drink exports increased at three times the rate of Ireland’s total merchandise exports. As a result the sector accounted for 25% of the rise in total export revenue. Over the last two years, the value of Irish food and drink exports has increased by Eur1.8 billion or 25%.

Michael Carey, chairman of Bord Bia, comments: “This is an excellent achievement and the industry is to be commended for its strong export performance, which affirms its positioning at the heart of the Irish economy. Global market conditions, reflected in strong commodity prices, remain favourable and exporters are voicing continued optimism about their business prospects for the year ahead. The industry is well on track to deliver on the ambitious targets of Food Harvest 2020.”

The 2011 export performance was boosted by global prices for major commodities, a positive supply/demand balance in some key categories, a tentative return to price inflation across most major European markets and reduced volatility in exchange rates. Agricultural commodity prices remain at record levels with the FAO food price index recording growth of 26% during the first 11 months of 2011. A number of key sectors – including dairy, beverages and pigmeat – also recorded higher output. Overall, it is estimated that volume growth accounted for 25% of the rise in food and drink exports. The strongest performing categories were dairy (Eur2.6 billion), meat (Eur2.59 billion), prepared foods (Eur1.5 billion) and seafood (Eur420 million).

“Among the notable developments during the year are the continued diversification by industry into new markets, with exports to Asia up by one-third, the exceptional performance of the beef industry in achieving an increase in market returns almost twice the European average, and the expansion intentions of producers that assures future growth,” says Aidan Cotter, chief executive of Bord Bia. “The meat and dairy sectors account for almost two-thirds of total food and drink exports, and indications that breeding herds are expanding, combined with the lifting of milk quotas from 2015, will underpin export growth into the future.”

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Ireland’s Food and Drink Exports to Approach €9 Billion in 2011


Irish food and drink exports in 2011 are expected to reach a record high of €8.9 billion, an increase of more than 12%, or almost €1 billion, on 2010 levels. This follows growth of €700 million in 2010 leaving Ireland’s food exports in 2011 some 25% ahead of 2009 levels. Meanwhile, against a backdrop of strong global demand and high prices, eight out of ten exporters surveyed by Bord Bia rate their prospects as improved or very improved compared with this time last year.

 

All major categories are expected to show growth this year, led by dairy and meat, which combined account for more than 60% of Ireland’s total food and drink exports. Strong global prices are driving export growth, with the FAO food price index 26% ahead of this time last year, however increased volumes of dairy products, pigmeat, whiskey, cider, confectionery, sauces/soups and mushrooms are also boosting revenues. It is estimated volume growth across these categories will account for up to 30% of the total.

 

“As world supplies struggle to keep pace with the growth in global demand, the outlook for food exporters for the remainder of the year and into 2012 remains positive,” points out Aidan Cotter, chief executive of Bord Bia.  “The latest surge in world food prices is further evidence that the era of cheap food is at an end, yet while forecasts point to a longer term upward trend, the conditions for volatility in prices remain in the form of weather-related events, fluctuating stock levels, exchange rates and market speculation.”

 

Figures for the first half of 2011 show some change in the market distribution of Irish food and drink exports. The UK remains the principal export destination, although its share of total exports fell from 44% to just over 40% compared to the same period last year. This reflects the fact that much of the growth in dairy and to a lesser extent prepared foods, beverages and beef has occurred outside of the UK market.

 

The proportion of exports going to other European markets jumped by two percentage points to 35% for the period as stronger dairy, beef, beverage and prepared food exports boosted trade. International markets accounted for 25%, driven in particular by stronger dairy exports.

 

While the consumer search for value continues apace, the initial signs of rising consumer prices have emerged acrossEuropeduring 2011. In July 2011, the consumer food price index for the euro area was almost 3% ahead of a year earlier while UK prices were 6% higher than a year earlier.

 

The ongoing volatility in exchange rates presents a challenge for Irish exporters. Current exchange rates leave the euro 9% stronger against the US dollar and 5% stronger against sterling than September 2010.

 

The Irish manufacturing sector has improved its competitiveness over recent years with Ireland’s Competitiveness Scorecard for 2011 published by Forfas showing a more productive and cost competitive industry. During the period April 2008 to February 2011, Ireland’s harmonised competitiveness index depreciated by more than 12% in real terms, which is helping the sector’s competitiveness on export markets.

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FoodCentral – A New National Food Park For Ireland


The development of FoodCentral, a national food park, strategically located on a 113-hectare site beside Dublin Airport and close to Dublin Port, is now underway in Ireland. A master plan focused on creating a new world-class food park has been agreed with Fingal County Council, the local authority.

FoodCentral will provide an opportunity for the phased development of a diverse range of food and drink related business operations in an attractive and sustainable environment. Not only does the site provide a strategically located gateway to Ireland’s food market for overseas companies wishing to locate near Dublin, it also provides an excellent location for businesses to establish processing operations or distribution hubs for the domestic or export markets. Over time, food related education, training and ancillary activities will also become established.

FoodCentral has an optimal location for receiving and producing food products and distributing them nationally from the population centre in Dublin. Approx 75% of Ireland’s retail food distribution operates from within a 25 km radius of FoodCentral.

Businesses currently located in FoodCentral and employing over 1,000 people include a number of Keelings and Donnellys operations as well as UK-based food service company, Brakes. The existing businesses in the food park encompass a range of growing; food related processing and packing, food service and logistics operations. These diverse businesses are both competitors and co-operators in a number of respects involving shared services and inter-company trade.

FoodCentral aims for food and drink businesses locating within the park to foster co-location synergies and benefits. A wide scope of activities can be optimised to commercial and financial advantage. These activities include manufacturing, processing, logistics, innovation, research and development, sustainability, marketing, exhibition and administration.

“As FoodCentral develops with both existing and new businesses, its potential to deliver an environmentally attractive food park, harnessing synergies, sharing services, generating new opportunities and adding value to the food and drink sector can be realised in an environment which could generate up to 5,000 sustainable jobs, in a wide spectrum of activities,” comments William Keeling, FoodCentral’s managing director.

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Business is Good For Irish Fairtrade


Contrary to what might be expected during the recession, Fairtrade sales continue to grow in Ireland. In 2010 consumer spending on Fairtrade Certified products grew by an impressive 17%, from €118m in 2009 to €138m in 2010. Ireland now has one of the highest per capita spends on Fairtrade Certified products anywhere in the world.

And in 2011 this growth is set to continue:

* The MACE retail group has just announced that 120 of their outlets are converting to Fairtrade Certified coffee provided by Bewley’s,

* Java Republic Coffee Company saw growth of 7% in their Fairtrade coffee sales,

* The Insomnia Coffee Company has announced the conversion of all its hot chocolate drinks to Fairtrade,

* Other initiatives like the conversion of all Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream to Fairtrade by the end of the year support this trend.

Peter Gaynor, executive director with Fairtrade Mark Ireland, comments; “It’s good to see that people in Ireland continue to support initiatives like Fairtrade. Volunteer groups all around the country have committed their time over many years and we are delighted with how sales are holding up in the teeth of the recession.”

Ireland has the highest number of Fairtrade Towns groups per capita of any country in the world. There are now 48 officially recognised Fairtrade towns and cities that have met the Fairtrade Towns criteria.

Indeed, Ireland is staging a Fairtrade Fortnight between February 28th and March 13th.

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Irish Regional Bakery Saved


The fresh bread element of Gallagher’s Bakery in Ardara, County Donegal, has been saved from closure following its acquisition by managing director Declan Gallagher for an undisclosed amount. Declan Gallagher sold the family-owned bakery in 2007 to IAWS Group, now part of international bakery group Aryzta.

Last month Aryzta announced that it was closing the frozen bread section of Gallagher’s Bakery, with the loss of 124 jobs, and putting the fresh bread business up for sale. Increasingly difficult market conditions, increased commodity costs and declining sales were blamed for the decision.

In buying back the fresh bread business, Declan Gallagher expects to ensure the survival of up to 70 jobs. “I felt a social responsibility to do it for the area. It is my full intention to grow this business over the next number of years and increase employment,” he says. “We have a strong brand locally.” The Gallagher’s brand is well known in the north west of Ireland.

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Small Irish Food Businesses Demonstrate Resilience


Small food businesses in Ireland are continuing to demonstrate strong growth both on the domestic and export markets, according to new figures released by Bord Bia. Bord Bia works with over 400 small food businesses with an annual turnover of some €400m, representing an increase in value of 7% per year since 2007. Looking ahead to 2011 the prospects also remain positive. According to Bord Bia’s recent food industry survey over 70% of small food businesses viewed the prospects for their business in 2011 as good or very good. When asked to compare their prospects to a year earlier, 56% rated them as better.

When asked the source of business generated over the last year some 74% increased business with existing customers, 43% won back business with former customers, while an impressive 90% developed business with new customers. In terms of sales prospects, 65% had increased their sales forecasts for 2011.

“We’ve seen significant success in the past few years despite this being perhaps the most difficult period faced by the sector. Small business sales are growing even among those dependent on a very challenging Irish market. While annual turnover has grown by 7 per cent, certain categories are exceeding this level of growth” comments Una Fitzgibbon, marketing services director, Bord Bia. “Non alcoholic beverages have shown in excess of 40 per cent growth since 2007, driven by an appetite for mineral water and sports nutritional drinks; alcoholic beverages increased by more than 30 per cent driven by a new demand for boutique or craft beers and charcuterie has grown by over 25 per cent as consumers become more aware of the distinction in deli meats.”

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Consolidation in Irish Grain and Feed Industry


Irish agri-nutrition and food company Origin Enterprises, which is 71% owned by international bakery group Aryzta, has together with W&R Barnett completed the transaction to establish an all-Ireland grain and feed handling, logistics and trading business. The new enterprise will be formed through the integration of Origin’s business of R&H Hall in the Republic of Ireland with the business of Origin and Barnett in Northern Ireland.

The combined business brings together two of Ireland’s indigenous grain and non-grain feed ingredient importing businesses servicing the animal feed and cereal milling industries.

Barnett is paying Eur28m to acquire a 50% stake in R&H Hall mirroring the economic interests of Origin and Barnett in the Northern Ireland business. R&H Hall generated an operating profit of Eur5.1m for the year ending 31st July 2010 on revenues of Eur301m. Origin will use the proceeds to initially repay debt and ultimately to fund development of the group.

For the year to 31st July 2010 the Origin’s agri-nutrition division generated revenues of Eur1.08b and operating profit of Eur48.2m. Its food division had sales of Eur260.1m and operating profit of Eur13.8m.

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Irish Bakery Closure


Gallagher’s Bakery, based in Ardara, County Donegal, is closing its frozen bread section with the loss of 124 jobs. Gallagher’s specialises in producing part baked frozen breads under the French Mill brand for the in-store bakery and hot food delicatessen market in Ireland and abroad. The company is also a leading regional baker of fresh bread, with the Gallagher’s brand well known in the north west of Ireland.

Established by the Gallagher family in 1968, the company has been part of international bakery group Aryzta since 2007.

Some frozen bread production from Ardara is being transferred to the Dublin bakery of the parent group. A further 65 jobs may be saved if Gallagher’s fresh bread operation is sold and some employees are redeployed to Dublin.

“There has been a serious market contraction in Ireland and the UK in recent years. Increasingly difficult market conditions, increased commodity costs, declining sales and reduced product prices have put immense pressure on the business,” says Declan Gallagher, managing director of Gallagher’s Bakery. The Donegal bakery’s competitiveness in the UK market has also been undermined by the weakness of sterling.

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Glanbia Expands Irish Milk Business


Glanbia, the international nutritional ingredients and cheese group, is expanding its Irish dairy business with the acquisition of the Limerick-based Dawn liquid milk business from Kerry Group in a deal believed to be worth about Eur10m. Glanbia will take control of the Limerick plant, which employs about 160 people, and the Dawn Milk and Golden Vale brands.

The deal, which is subject to approval from the Competition Authority, is in line with Glanbia’s strategy of developing its consumer foods business in Ireland. It also reflects Kerry’s scaling down of its Irish liquid milk business. Last year, Kerry sold its Dawn Galway liquid milk business to Arrabawn, the Irish dairy co-operative.

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Irish Food and Drink Exports Approach €8 Billion Mark


The Republic of Ireland’s food and drink export sales rose by 11% in 2010 to reach €7.9 billion. The increase, amounting to just over €800 million, was supported by a more stable consumer environment, reduced exchange rate pressures, and improved relative competitiveness. It was also boosted by rising global prices for most agricultural commodities.

“The strength of the industry’s export performance is all the more commendable for the fact that it has been achieved in what remains a highly competitive marketing environmentt” points out Dan Browne, chairman of Bord Bia, the trade development and promotion agency for Irish food, drink and horticulture. “All major categories recorded increases, led by dairy, which jumped by more than €300 million or 17%. Meat and livestock exports were almost €200 million higher while beverage and prepared food exports recorded growth of €130 million and €100 million respectively.”

Aidan Cotter (left), chief executive, and Dan Browne, chairman of Bord Bia.

The Irish food and drink industry is continuing to increase its penetration of Continental EU markets. Exports to the mainly eurozone markets increased by 14% during 2010. Continental EU markets now account for 34% of the industry’s total exports of food and drink.

The economy continues to dominate consumer thinking and behaviour throughout many key European markets, where more consumers believe their purchasing power will decrease than increase over the coming two years. The results of the fourth wave of Bord Bia’s Feeling the Pinch survey, completed in late 2010, also shows a high degree of uncertainty remains among Irish and British consumers. Indeed, the only certainty that appears to be emerging is that significant change is unlikely to materialise in 2011 and as the search for value continues, consumers are embracing the ‘new normal’.

Nevertheless, looking ahead to 2011 the prospects for Irish food and drink exports remain positive, helped by strong global demand for commodity products and a relatively tight supply situation in a number of key product categories. “In a year in which the world’s population will reach seven billion, growth in global demand is set to underpin food markets well into the future, albeit with some volatility to be expected,” according to Aidan Cotter, chief executive of Bord Bia. “The challenge for the Irish food and drink industry is to maintain its current momentum, particularly in the areas of cost competitiveness, innovation and marketing.”

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Danone to Invest €50 Million to Expand Irish Baby Food Plant


Danone Baby Nutrition plans to invest Eur50m to significantly expand capacity at its baby food manufacturing plant at Macroom in Ireland. A subsidiary of French food and beverages group Danone, Danone Baby Nutrition manufactures specialised infant and toddler milks.

Construction is due to commence in February 2011 with the new facilities coming on stream at the start of 2012. On completion, the Macroom factory will be the largest and most technologically advanced manufacturing centre in Danone Baby Nutrition’s global network. The expansion will result in a trebling of capacity to 100,000 tonnes annually, due to the establishment of a new drying line at the facility. About 98% of the output from Macroom will be exported to more than 60 countries worldwide.

The investment project is expected to result in the creation of 40 new jobs the areas of food science, engineering and supply chain management to add to Danone Baby Nutrition’s existing Irish workforce of 350 people, employed between its plants at Macroom and Wexford, which produce the Cow and Gate and Aptamil brands.

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Cooley Named Best Distillery in Europe for Third Consecutive Year


Cooley Distillery, Ireland’s only independent distillery, has been named European Distiller of the Year for the third consecutive year at the annual International Wine and Spirits Competition (IWSC). Cooley Distillery founder and chairman, John Teeling believes that Cooley’s achievements throughout the downturn are proof positive that the exporting and marketing of quality Irish produce will drive the recovery of the Irish economy.

Pictured (l to r): Jack Teeling, managing director, and John Teeling, chairman of Cooley Distillery.

“While the State and the economic commentators work to rearrange the chairs on the deck of the Titanic, the rest of us are getting on with what needs to be done to bring us back from the brink,” he says. “This award, Cooley’s for the third time in a row, demonstrates three things; the value of Irish businessmen building world class internationally competitive businesses; the indisputable fact that Irish workers can produce products of the highest quality and the ability of young Irish road warriors to market our products and gain market share in tough markets around the world.”

Cooley’s continuing international acclaim has been driven by its commitment to innovation and its focus on exporting its portfolio of award winning whiskeys to over 40 countries around the world. Despite the downturn, Cooley’s focus on export markets has enabled the company to continue to be profitable and it has recently invested Eur6.5m in the infrastructure of its two distilleries – Cooley Distillery in County Louth and the Old Kilbeggan Distillery in County Westmeath.

The latest accolade follows ten gold medals from the IWSC in July of this year and Cooley Distillery being named Distillery of the Year by Malt Advocate, a leading whisky magazine in North America.

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Northern Foods and Greencore to Create £1.7 Billion Convenience Foods Giant


Northern Foods and Greencore, two of the UK’s leading convenience food processors, are to merge to create Essenta Foods, a £1.7b turnover business with strong positions in private label production along with significant band strength in biscuits and frozen pizzas, respectively through the Fox’s and Goodfella’s brands. The merger is expected to yield cost synergies of £40m per annum within three years, with at least half being realised within the first 12 months after completion. The merger is scheduled to be completed during the second quarter of 2011.

Essenta Foods will be owned equally by Northern Foods’ and Greencore’s shareholders. The combined business will have a high quality asset base with 33 facilities in the UK, eight facilities in Ireland and two facilities in the US.

It will benefit from strong market positions in growing segments of the market such as sandwiches and ready meals, which in the UK have experienced 9.8% and 7.7% market growth respectively in the last year. Greencore and Northern Foods have invested significantly in their respective businesses in recent years and consequently the combined group will have sufficient capacity to support further market growth in these and other segments of the market.

“The proposed merger is a great opportunity to develop fully the potential of both companies. It will create a sustainable, top tier organisation which will be capable of delivering best in class food products and innovative solutions to its customers,” says Anthony Hobson, chairman of Northern Foods.

Patrick Coveney, chief executive of Greencore.

Patrick Coveney, chief executive of Greencore, who will head the merged group, comments: “Essenta Foods presents a compelling opportunity for all stakeholders. It creates a substantial chilled prepared food company in fast growing categories in the UK which is enhanced by strong branded positions in biscuits and frozen food. The investment case is underpinned by tangible cost synergies and the platform for further growth in the UK, Ireland and the US. The time is right for both companies to build a real ‘better than both’ business and I look forward to bringing together the teams from Greencore and Northern Foods to deliver on this opportunity.”

Northern Foods recently reported an operating loss of £9.5m including restructuring charges and a drop in turnover for the six months to October 2nd 2010 as improvements in its chilled foods and bakery businesses were offset by a loss in frozen foods. Although like-for-like sales grew 2.7% in the first half, and by 6% in the second quarter, total sales were £453.0m against £466.9m in the corresponding period in the previous year. Operating profit (pre-restructuring) was £17.5m (down from £20.5m in the previous year), reflecting chilled food profits up from £7.2m to £11.8m, bakery profits up from £8.2m to £10.3m but the frozen foods recording a loss of £4.6m, against a profit of £5.1m in the first half of 2009/2010.

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Strong Annual Operating Performance by Refocused Greencore


Following three strategic disposals to become sharply focused on its UK, Irish and US convenience foods operations, Greencore has reported a 17.6% rise in group operating profit from continuing operations to Eur59.7m on sales up by 6.9% to Eur856.9m for the year ended September 24th 2010. Group operating margin from continuing operations improved by 63bps to 7.0% and Greencore also achieved a 31.8% reduction, year on year, in group net debt to Eur193.4m.

Sales in continuing businesses at the convenience foods division advanced 10.7% to Eur784.5m and operating profit increased 21.1% to Eur54.1m as Greencore capitalised on consumer trends of increased ‘at home’ and ‘on the go’ food consumption and benefited from lower UK manufacturing capacity and the further delivery on its lean and operating efficiency programmes. Sales at Greencore’s US convenience foods business grew by 18%.

Following the disposal of its malt, water and continental European convenience foods businesses for an aggregate total consideration of Eur142.3m, Greencore is a leaner, more focused convenience foods group with two key geographies, the UK and the US. The remaining, non-core ingredients and property business is trading satisfactorily and represents less than 10% of group sales and operating profit.

“We have made enormous progress in reshaping our group into a focused, growing convenience food business this year. This is reflected in the strong sales, margin and profit growth in the results of our continuing business,” points out Patrick Coveney, group chief executive of Greencore. “Furthermore, an effective disposal programme has dramatically reduced group net debt and provides the basis for further development in convenience food.”

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Acquisitions Lift C&C Group as Magners Returns to Growth


Reflecting the impact of acquisitions and a return to volume growth of its Magners brand in Great Britain for the first time since 2007, Irish cider producer C&C Group has reported a 29.4% increase in operating profit from continuing operations to Eur63.4m for the six months ended 31st August 2010 on net revenue up 73% to Eur305.5m. Acquisitions contributed operating profit of Eur15.6 m while the group’s disposed spirit business contributed Eur4.5m in the period.

Although the Magners brand grew volume by 1.6% year-on-year, Magner’s Northern Ireland volumes declined by 20.6% and the Bulmer’s volumes declined 3.4% year-on-year in a challenging Republic of Ireland cider market. Operating profit in C&C’s original cider business declined by 1.8% to Eur47.9m. Group operating margin, as a consequence of new acquisitions, declined by 6.9 percentage points to 20.8% of net revenue.

During the first half, C&C disposed of its spirits and liqueurs business to Scotch whisky distiller William Grant & Sons for Eur300m. C&C also completed the integration of acquisitions – the AB Inbev beer business in Northern Ireland and the Gaymer’s cider operation in Great Britain. Indeed, synergy targets have now been revised upwards to Eur8m for 2010/11 and to Eur10m for 2011/12 delivering total cost and revenue synergies of Eur18m.

“Economic conditions in the group’s core markets of Ireland and the UK remain unpredictable and challenging. Consequently, we are appropriately cautious in our outlook. Despite the challenges, we are pleased to report the continued growth of the cider category in the UK and the return to modest volume growth for the Magner’s brand for the first time since 2007,” comments John Dunsmore, chief executive of C&C Group. “We remain confident of delivering to market consensus for operating profit in the range of Eur102-Eur106m for 2010/11.”

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Aryzta Well Placed to Benefit From Economic Recovery


Swiss and international speciality bakery group Aryzta has reported a 2.2% increase in operating profit (including associates and joint ventures) to Eur305m from underlying revenue up 8.6% to Eur3.01b. The core Food Group – Aryzta also owns 71% of Origin Enterprises, the Irish agri-nutrition business – increased operating profit by 4% to Eur227m on underlying revenue ahead by 6.7% to Eur1.68b.

The Food Group’s customer base is an evenly balanced mix of convenience and independent retail, large retail, quick service restaurants and other food service categories. Revenues declined during the period across most channels and markets. Convenience retail and food service on the island of Ireland and the UK were the most severely impacted channels and markets. Continued pressure on the consumer in Europe and North America made for a challenging year. Operating profit remained stable, helped by Aryzta’s cost curtailment and operating efficiency initiatives.

Owen Killian, chief executive of Aryzta.

“Economic conditions for consumers remain very challenging. Aryzta has responded by continuing to focus on operating efficiencies, cost management, innovation and cash flow generation, while working alongside its retail and food service partners to provide fresh and convenient, high quality baked goods at competitive prices,” comments Owen Killian, chief executive of Aryzta. “The operating environment is likely to remain difficult in many key markets. Aryzta’s business model is therefore focused on operational resilience, while remaining well positioned to benefit from any economic recovery.”

The acquisitions of Fresh Start Bakeries and Great Kitchens in Aryzta’s current financial year will provide additional product expansion in North America, greater geographic expansion across Europe and the rest of the world, increased access into retail and quick service restaurant channels and a substantially increased bakery capability and capacity.

“Securing two complementary acquisitions in Fresh Start Bakeries and Great Kitchens substantially enhances Aryzta’s strategic market position by developing partnerships with leading operators in every consumer channel. Aryzta’s expanded product range, increasingly diversified geographical footprint and greater channel access to consumers offers further opportunities for growth over an enlarged business base,” he adds.

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Stronger Second Half Performance Drives Growth at Diageo


A stronger second half performance has helped global alcoholic drinks giant Diageo to increase reported operating profit by 6.5% to £2.574b, aied by exchange rate movement, for the year ended June 30th 2010 as gains in developing international markets offset declines in the mature markets of North America and Europe. On a reported basis, net sales increased by 5% to £9.78b during the year. Organic growth in both operating profit and net sales for the year was 2%.

Exceptional operating costs amounted to £177m, up from £170m in 2009, and included a net charge of £142m in respect of restructuring programmes. These costs included £85 million (2009 – £166 million) for the global restructuring programme announced in February 2009, £93 million (2009 – £nil) for the restructuring of Global Supply operations announced in July 2009 principally in Scotland, £12 million for the restructuring of brewing operations in Ireland announced in 2008, and a £48 million net credit (2009 – £nil) for the restructuring of the wines business in the US.

Diageo’s profit before taxation increased by 12.5% to £2.24b in the year.

Paul Walsh, chief executive of Diageo.

“As expected this has been a year of challenges and opportunities. Our performance was much stronger in the second half than in the first – our performance in the developing markets drove overall growth while markets in North America and Europe remained weak. However, even though markets and categories have been affected in different ways and to differing degrees, we have been consistent in our focus to deliver growth and build a stronger business for the future,” says Paul Walsh, chief executive of Diageo.

“The impact of the global economic crisis varied by market and the strength of the recovery appears to be equally variable. However, as we demonstrated this year, the global diversity of our business, together with the strength and range of our brands and the agility we have demonstrated gives us confidence that in fiscal 2011 we will be able to improve on the organic operating profit growth we have delivered this year.”

Mixed Fortunes in Europe

 

Europe remained a challenging region, impacted by weak consumer confidence and economic uncertainty. Diageo’s volumes rose by 1% but net sales declined by 2% and operating profit by 1% as marketing spend was cut by 6%.

Solid results were delivered in Great Britain where volume and net sales were up 9% and 5% respectively. Diageo also achieved a strong performance in Russia with double-digit growth in both volume and net sales. This led to a significant increase in share in Scotch whisky as Diageo extended its leadership position.

However, net sales declined 8% in Ireland but Diageo gained share and the rate of decline in the beverage alcohol market slowed. Trading in southern European markets remained particularly difficult. The on trade continued to decline in Spain and increased excise taxes and reduced consumer spending led to a sharp slowdown in Greece in the fourth quarter.

The weaker trade conditions in Southern Europe and Ireland impacted overall marketing spend as campaigns were reduced in line with consumer trends. Marketing spend was allocated to proven campaigns on key brands such as Captain Morgan in Northern Europe and Smirnoff in Great Britain. A small reduction in gross margin but lower marketing spend led to the operating profit decline of 1%.

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New €12m Irish Mushroom Plant


Irish mushrooms producer Monaghan Mushrooms has opened its new Eur12m state-of-the-art mushroom growing facility at Tyholland in County Monaghan. The new facility, which will generate 150 jobs, comprises 18 mushroom growing houses with a total growing area of 21,306 sq m. When operating at full capacity the plant will have an output of 115 tonnes of mushrooms a week, equal to an annual output of 5,980 tonnes, the vast proportion of which will be exported to the UK.

The new facility will allow Monaghan Mushrooms to expand its overall output of mushrooms and so increase supply to customers in the UK and Ireland. Monaghan Mushrooms holds 45% of the £350m (Eur425m) UK mushroom market, which is the largest in Europe.

With annual sales of Eur150m, Monaghan Mushrooms is one of Europe’s largest mushroom producers. The company supplies all the leading retail multiples in the UK with fresh mushrooms daily. Monaghan Mushrooms was founded in 1981 by local entrepreneur Ronnie Wilson.

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Kerry Group Confirms Offer For Newmarket Co-operative Creameries


Kerry Group, the international ingredients, flavours and consumer foods group, has confirmed the terms of its offer to acquire Irish dairy processor Newmarket Co-operative Creameries for approximately Eur33m. The offer is subject to approval by Newmarket shareholders and by the Competition Authority of Ireland.

Stan McCarthy, chief executive of Kerry Group.

Newmarket Creameries, located in North Cork, is a leading manufacturer of cheese from a state-of-the-art cheese production facility. With an annual manufacturing capacity in excess of 35,000 tonnes Newmarket is a major supplier of cheese to Kerry Group’s branded cheese business.

“Kerry has market leading cheese technology capability and a leading cheese brand portfolio including its Charleville, Coleraine, Low Low and Cheestrings brands. The group has a long-standing business relationship with Newmarket Creameries and high regard for Newmarket cheese-making competency,” says Stan McCarthy, chief executive of Kerry Group. “Combining Kerry and Newmarket represents a positive growth and business development opportunity in the interest of all stakeholders in both companies.”

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Northern Foods to Sell Dalepak Frozen Foods


UK convenience foods producer Northern Foods has agreed to sell Dalepak Frozen Foods to the Irish Food Processors Group, one of the largest meat processors in Europe, for an expected cash consideration of £6.4m. Dalepak, based in Northallerton, North Yorkshire, England, is a supplier of frozen food products, including meat and meat free grills, with brands such as Dalepak, Ross and Grassington’s.

Stefan Barden, chief executive of Northern Foods.

Subject to due process, 143 employees will transfer to the Irish Food Processors Group. Dalepak made a marginal loss on sales of £23m in the year to 3rd April 2010. A proportion of the proceeds from the transaction will be paid into the Northern Foods Pension Schemes.

Irish Food Processors is the parent company of Anglo Irish Beef Processors (AIBP) in Ireland representing 25% of the industry, and Anglo Beef Processors (ABP) in the UK which accounts for 15% of the industry. The group operates more than twenty facilities throughout both islands.

AIBP is Europe’s largest beef producer and is also the longest established beef processing group in Ireland. ABP supplies frozen and fresh beef, pork and lamb products to the multiple retail and wholesale trade in Britain.

To supplement its traditional core activity in beef processing, Irish Food Processors has been developing the added value element of its business. It currently operates a frozen foods division, including frozen beef burger production, consumer ready chilled products and a major frozen sausage production unit.

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Kellogg Expanding European HQ


Kellogg is creating fifty new jobs at its European headquarters at Swords in Ireland. The world’s largest breakfast cereal manufacturer is recruiting for senior positions in marketing, finance and sales at its European headquarters, and also expanding the sales team for its local Irish business. The fifty new staff will increase the number employed by Kellogg in Ireland to over 250 by the end of the year. Kellogg established its European headquarters in Ireland in 2005.

“Our vision is to become the food company of choice and through our European headquarters we are building a centre of excellence here in Dublin, which supports our teams in their local markets,” says Tim Mobsby, president of Kellogg Europe.  “Ireland is a great place to do business. We are able to attract highly skilled professionals in this market and we are confident that we can continue to build our functional teams here to sustain growth across our European business.”

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United Biscuits Offered For Sale


Private equity firms Blackstone Group and PAI Partners are reported to be seeking to sell British and international biscuits and snacks manufacturer United Biscuits for £2b or more. In 2009, United Biscuits increased EBITDA by 13.7% to £223.4m on turnover up 5% to £1.26b.

United Biscuits is one of the world’s leading branded biscuits and snacks businesses. The group’s products range from biscuits and crackers to cakes and savoury snacks and its portfolio of brands includes McVitie’s, Jacob’s, Carr’s, McCoy’s, Hula Hoops, McVitie’s Jaffa Cakes, KP, Mini Cheddars, go ahead!, Verkade, Sultana, BN, and Delacre.

United Biscuits holds leading or strong number two positions in its core markets of the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, France, Belgium and Ireland. Moreover its brands and products have global appeal, and the group’s rapidly growing international business unit serves consumers from North America to the Middle East, Africa, and Australia.

The sale process is due to begin in the autumn and to be concluded early next year. Blackstone Group and PAI Partners acquired United Biscuits for £1.6b four years ago.

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Pfizer Strengthens Infant Food Manufacturing Capabilities in Asia With $100m Investment


Pfizer has invested $100m in the expansion of its Singapore Nutrition Plant, which manufactures nutritional products for infants and children. The expansion, which brings the total investment in the plant to $372m, makes it one of the largest nutritional plants worldwide.

The expansion of the plant to 91,963 sq m (the equivalent of 17 football fields) has boosted the plant’s production capacity by 50% and increased its ability to supply nutrition products to Singapore and key markets such as China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Vietnam.

As part of the Singapore plant expansion, Pfizer has added over 100 new positions in the past year, bringing its staff strength to 587 people in total.

The plant is part of Pfizer Global Manufacturing’s Nutrition Operating Unit, which is dedicated to manufacturing nutrition products used by infants and children. The network also operates manufacturing facilities in Ireland, China, Mexico and the Philippines.

Formerly a Wyeth operation, the Singapore plant was integrated into Pfizer Singapore following Pfizer’s acquisition of Wyeth in October 2009. The expansion was completed in June 2010.

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