Oceania plans to expand

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Oceania Dairy Limited’s factory, which is owned by Chinese dairy giant Yili, is set to invest a further $400 million into the factory over the next five years which will add a further 150 jobs.

Yili purchased Oceania Dairy in April 2013 and commenced development of its infant formula milk processing plant on a 38ha block of land in Glenavy.

The expansion plan was announced at the official opening of the factory yesterday. Oceania Dairy Limited chief executive Aidan Johnstone said work would start soon.

“We anticipate the first of the expansion project will commence in early 2015 and we’ve scheduled the remaining phases through to completion in 2019.

“This comprehensive project will add capacity to output a wide range of additional products from the Glenavy factory.”

The expansion will include a whole milk powder dryer, an infant formula canning line and facilties to manufacture UHT (Ultra High Temperature) milk products and lactoferrin.

“We are confident of a fantastic relationship between Oceania Dairy and Yili and are certain the factory will reap huge benefits for the area,” Mr Johnstone said.

Waimate Mayor Craig Rowley said the factory is fantastic for the region.

“It’s great to see it officially opened and it will provide huge benefits for Glenavy, Waimate, the Waitaki District, Oamaru and even Timaru.”

Wilma van Leeuwen, speaking on behalf of the Oceania Dairy Foundation Farm Suppliers, said they were pleased with the deal struck with Yili.

“It took some time to finalise, but we are really pleased with the final result. About 18 months ago it was just a piece of land and now the transformation is amazing, and there’s still more to be built.”

Since the factory’s creation more than than 70 jobs have been created within stage one of the new plant while there are 48 local supply farmers meeting the 2014-15 milk requirements.

It’s expected that close to 220 million litres of milk will be processed through the factory in its first season.

Yili Group executive president Zhang Jianqiu said he’s pleased the company invested in Oceania Dairy.

“As the world’s largest milk exporter, New Zealand is ideally positioned to work with China to meet the country’s escalating demand for milk,” he said.

Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher, who was unable to attend, said it’s great something like this has opened in the area.

North Otago Federated Farmers dairy chairperson Lyndon Strang said the factory expansion was positive for both Waitaki and Waimate districts since it offered another option for farmers and extra competition.

By BRAYDEN LINDSAY

PHOTO: BRAYDEN LINDSAY

OFFICIAL GUESTS: Pan Gang, president of Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group (Yili), Waimate mayor Craig Rowley and Todd McClay, Associate Minister of Trade arrive for the official opening of the Oceania Dairy factory at Glenavy yesterday.