GEA to build second giant Fonterra milk powder drier

By Mark ASTLEY contact

- Last updated on GMT

Fonterra's Lichfield plant.
Fonterra's Lichfield plant.

Related tags: Milk powder, Milk, Powdered milk

GEA has been drafted in by Fonterra to build the New Zealand dairy giant a second 30 tonnes per hour capacity milk powder facility.

Dusseldorf-based GEA announced earlier this week it had secured a contract to construct a milk powder facility at Fonterra's Lichfield site on New Zealand’s North Island.

Once complete, the Lichfield milk powder plant will convert up to 4.4m litres of milk per day into 30 tonnes of whole milk powder (WMP) per hour or 700 tonnes per day.

It will rival the milk powder drier at Fonterra’s Darfield site, dubbed the world's largest milk drier, which was built by GEA in 2013. 

“We are honored that Fonterra again chose us as their process technology providers,”​ said Juerg Oleas, CEO, GEA.

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The Lichfield build will rival Fonterra's Darfield milk powder plant.

“When you face a technical challenge of this magnitude, experience of course helps. We have proven before that we can do this successfully. It is inspiring for us to partner with industry leaders such as Fonterra whose ambitious visions help set new technical standards.”

The Lichfield development is one part of a larger NZ$555m (US$433m, €345m) New Zealand processing capacity investment announced by Fonterra in August 2014.

At the time, Fonterra said the additional processing capacity would be necessary to “help meet global demand for dairy products.”

According to GEA, WMP produced at the commissioned Lichfield plant is intended for export to “fast growing markets”​ such as China, South East Asia, and the Middle East.

In Q4 2013, GEA reported dairy technology ales of €120m (US$150m), which it attributed in large to Asia milk powder demand.

Speaking with DairyReporter.com, Axel Wolferts, head of investor relations, GEA, said this trend has carried over into 2014.

“…in H1 2014 we have reported large orders coming from the dairy sector, also driven by Asian demand for milk powder,”​ he said.

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