Australian dairy co-operative Murray Goulburn plans to invest approximately A$200m ($211m, €172m) over the next three years on expanding and updating its manufacturing capabilities.
The money will be spend on improvements to the firm’s UHT milk, butter, spreads and cheese manufacturing facilities, the firm, which is Australia’s largest dairy food company and exporter, has announced.
In a letter addressed to shareholders and suppliers, Murray Goulburn managing director Gary Helou revealed that the investment is part of an effort to better equip Murray Goulburn to compete in Australia and at an international level in Asia and the Middle East.
Helou revealed that the money would be used to double the firm’s UHT milk capacity and boost the firm’s butter and cheese output.
Through its investment, Murray Goulburn hopes to tap into the “strongly growing retail and food service markets in Asia and the Middle East.”
Asia, Middle East demand
According to Helou, liquid milk consumption in Asia and the Middle East is growing at between 5% and 10% per annum.
“We have identified strong growth opportunities for UHT dairy products in Australia, Asia and the Middle East and we need to invest to double our capacity to approximately 500 million litres,” said Helou.
“The intention is to establish world-class UHT facilities that incorporate the following features: one step milk processing, the highest degree of automation, high speed lines and variety of pack formats. These facilities will allow MG to achieve cost leadership, improve product taste, launch innovative products and enter adjacent categories.”
The firm also intends to increase its consumer butter capacity to 20,000 tonnes per year to meet increasing Australian and overseas demand. The company’s board has already approved the installation of a new butter packaging line at its Koroit plant to meet this projected demand.
It also has plans to establish a new cheese cut and wrap facility to produce more than 60,000 tonnes per annum of cheese blocks, shred and slices at the lowest cost.
“These investments will complement and strengthen our on-going commitment to MG’s high quality dairy ingredients business portfolio,” Helou added.
The firm has spent recent months identifying international growth opportunities, said Helou.
“We are now entering the next phase of Murray Goulburn’s development that requires significant investment in leading-edge manufacturing facilities that generate higher value products and enable greater innovation as well as sot leadership.”
“This is a significant initiative to rejuvenate and grow MG’s presence in consumer markets, in Australia as well as strategic international markets.”