The plant is being constructed on a seven-hectare site at Landivisiau, in Brittany, and the work undertaken by the Breton agri-food group is entering its second phase with the creation of a new generation drying tower.
While Sill already has a conventional milk powder factory, the company has been considering the possibility of acquiring a milk production unit since 2014.
First tests planned at the end of 2020
After completion and first tests planned for the last quarter of 2020, the industrial start-up of the infant milk production unit should be effective at the beginning of 2021.
The plant has a projected production of 18,000 tonnes per year, exclusively for export to three major destinations, China, the Middle East and Africa.
The opening of the site will allow the creation of 60 direct jobs.
Gilles Falc'hun, president of the Sill Entreprises group, said, "It is both a relief to see this project succeed after 4½ years of procedures, and a satisfaction to be accompanied by our financial partners for this level in the evolution of our Group, towards the search for a better value added product mix."
Ambroise Fayolle, vice president of the European Investment Bank, said, “With this funding, the Bank of the European Union supports a major mid-size company in the Breton economy by offering long-term financing to ensure its industrial investments. It is also proof of the interest of Europe for agribusiness in France, since after Cotentin and Sodiaal, Sill is the third dairy company financed during the last three years.”
Sill was established in 1962 in Plouvien in Finistère, and currently has 1,400 employees and six sites in Brittany and two sites outside Brittany.
From the collection of milk (Dairy Sill, Gall, Malo, Petit Basque), Sill has developed and diversified its activity in the fruit juice sector (Plein Fruit, Bopi), soups and ready meals (La Potagère, Compagnie Artique, Primel and Saveurs Cristal), and baby food products (Teddy Chef, Grandeur Nature).
The project is part of the implementation of a global fundraising of €180m ($203.5m) for the construction of this new plant and CAPEX development of current plants over five years.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) has contributed €40m ($45m) under the Juncker plan (European Strategic Investment Fund EFSI). It is accompanied by a banking pool led by Arkéa and composed of six banks: CIC Ouest, Société Générale, Crédit Agricole Regional Bank of Finistère, Bank of China, Caisse d'Epargne de Bretagne and Pays de Loire.
The building and manufacturing processes of the infant milk powder factory were financed by a leasing agreement coordinated by BPI with the participation of Arkéa, CIC Ouest and Société Générale. The European Union, the State and the Brittany Region support this program by granting a grant of €2.4m ($2.7m) under the PDR/EAFRD program.