Lakeland prepares to move Irish milk drying facilities

By Guy Montague-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Milk

Lakeland Dairies is preparing to close one of its processing plants in Ireland and transfer production to a new, state of the art facility in Bailieboro.

The closure of the Lough Egish milk drying facility was first announced in 2006 as part of a restructuring plan designed to modernise its operations and cut production costs.

Lakeland has now confirmed that the Lough Egish plant will close its doors in the first week of April 2010.

State of the art

The closure is timed to coincide with the opening of a new milk drying facility at Bailieboro that Lakeland claims will be “the single most modern plant in Ireland and Europe for non-whey milk powders.”

To make that possible, the dairy co-op has spent €20 on new equipment and infrastructure.

The new Bailieboro plant will produce 70,000 tonnes of milk powders annually, with 25,000 tonnes of butter products also being produced on the same site.

Job losses

The transfer of facilities is expected to deliver necessary cost reductions and efficiencies but the move will also lead to job losses. Of the 60 members of staff affected by the closure at Lough Egish, around 8 to 10 workers will transfer to the new operations at Bailieboro.

A spokesman said: “Lakeland Dairies very much regrets the personal impact of the closure for its staff at Lough Egish but it remains necessary in view of overall dairy market conditions and to ensure that the co-op stays resilient and competitive for the future.”

Dairy processors and co-ops throughout Europe have been restructuring their operations to cut costs and guarantee future competitiveness. Closing smaller plants and transferring production to more centralised, modern locations is a common theme of this restructuring trend.

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