Sod-turning marks start of expansion


Oceania Dairy Ltd has begun a $200 million development with a symbolic sod-turning event at its factory near Glenavy.
Owner Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group announced the three-stage, five-year project when it opened the milk processing plant in late 2014. It will increase Yili’s total investment to more than $400 million.
Yili is China’s biggest dairy company and the 10th largest in the world. Oceania Dairy was its first investment outside China.
When the project is completed, it will include a state-of-the-art ultra high temperature (UHT) plant, a formula canning line, blending facilities and an enlarged storage area.
Site work is scheduled to be finished in May, followed by four months of construction before machinery is installed in October. Commissioning is expected in March next year.
“A lot of work has gone into planning this next stage of our expansion since the announcement by Yili, and now we are thrilled to see work get under way,” Oceania Dairy chief executive Roger Usmar said.
“The new development will significantly increase capacity to produce a wider range of products and will generate export revenues of more than $300 million each year.
“When all three stages are fully complete, the expansion will be a major boost for the local milk suppliers, with the factory expecting to handle in excess of 630 million litres of milk per annum,” Mr Usmar said.
“We’ve also got to take the next step to recruit more farmers to meet that demand and we’ll also be doubling our staff, adding a further 80 people to the business.
“The wider region will also benefit from the increase in downstream support services and suppliers.”Since it began operating in August 2014, the Oceania factory has produced a range of milk powder for export to China, where it is used as an ingredient in finished goods such as infant formula, consumer milk powders, ice cream, yoghurt and liquid milk products.

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