The €40m investment, which the company says is the largest in its 130-year history, will allow Chr Hansen to strengthen its position as one of the foremost suppliers of dairy cultures for food and beverage production. Group chief executive officer Lars Frederiksen said the construction is vital in ensuring that the company's customers, particularly dairy processors, have a more stable supply of ingredients amongst growing uncertainty over the commodity prices. Frederiksen added that dairy cultures account for about two thirds of the company's revenues, reflecting the current high demand and prices faced by the global industry of late. "We have seen continuing positive sales for quite some time, and lately the growth has exceeded all our expectations with present growth rates at 12 to 15 per cent," he stated. "This investment makes it possible for us to supply the global market with high quality products far-sightedly, fast and flexibly" The company claims that the new site alone can, through the latest available technology, produce cultures to cover the entire annual yoghurt production of Europe, estimated to be about 10m tonnes. The new plant will be able to produce dairy cultures to cover the total yoghurt production in Europe, which amounts to approximately 10 million tons annually. It will contain state-of-the-art technology and build on high-level know-how. With 20 per cent of turnover for the cultures derived from sales of products launched within the last three years, Chr Hansen says the plant will allow it to remain competitive in the regional market for these products. The site, situated just outside of Copenhagen, will be combined with the company's existing production infrastructure and technical know-how in Denmark. "After thorough consideration we decided to build in Denmark, where we already have a strong and advanced logistics platform," Frederiksen stated. "Furthermore, the educational level is high and our operation is mainly knowledge focused as opposed to manpower focused" Construction on the site began in December last year, with the company now expecting the first cultures from the plant to be ready for the market in spring next year.