Danone completes €180m Irish infant nutrition expansion

By Mark ASTLEY contact

- Last updated on GMT

Danone completes €180m Irish infant nutrition expansion

Related tags: Milk, Danone

French dairy giant Danone has completed a €180m (US$224m) four-year expansion of its Irish infant formula production capabilities.  

Richard Bruton, Irish Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, was on hand yesterday to officially unveil the final phase of the €180m spree - a €26m (US$32m) production line at Danone's Wexford plant.

The €26m production line is the last in a series of planned investments by Danone at sites in Wexford and Macroom, which produce Aptamil and Cow & Gate brand infant and follow-on formula.

Danone believes the expenditure leaves it better positioned to meet growing demand for its infant and follow-on formula products in Europe and Asia.

Danone is one of just four companies operating in Ireland currently with permission to export infant formula products to China​, the world's largest market for such products. 

"We have a significant track record of growth and investment in Ireland over the past four years,​" said Donal Courtney, managing director, Danone Nutricia Early Life Nutrition Ireland.

"This reflects both a growing demand for our products in the European and Asian markets as well as the high regard in which the Irish operations are held amongst the Danone Groupe."

Irish jobs

Around 50 jobs, in areas such as operations, engineering, and food science, have been created by the €26m Wexford investment. 

By the end of this year, the number of people employed by Danone in Ireland will stand at more than 400 - up from 180 prior to the Wexford and Macroom investments. 

Danone milk suppliers in Ireland also stand to benefit, the company claims.

European Union (EU) milk quotas, introduced in 1984 to address the problem of over production, are due to be abolished in April 2015. 

Milk production in Ireland is as a result expected to increase by 50% by 2020. 

"We are delighted that as Danone's operations grow in Ireland so too do the co-ops that supply us the milk to manufacture our base powders,"​ said Donal Dennehy, operations director, Danone Ireland. 

"We will continue to work with our suppliers and partners from the dairy industry to further enhance the sustainability efforts that we have in place to ensure that our growth has a long-term positive impact on our economy, the community and society."

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