Glanbia bolsters Chinese presence with new facility

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Glanbia Nutrition

After 20 years of doing business in China and the Asia Pacific,
Irish-based dairy and ingredients group Glanbia has established its
first plant in the Chinese city of Suzhou, near Shanghai.

The 1500 square metre "cutting-edge manufacturing facility"​ has been staffed with about 30 research and development and production specialists to begin with but is not operating at full capacity. It would run according to the principles that underpin Glanbia's European operations, and all staff received up to six months training at Glanbia's German facility. The company also manufactures wares at its Irish base. "A long-term collaborative strategy is in place to ensure systems and analytical methods delivered in Suzhou continue to the highest international standard,"​ Glanbia said. The site will focus on manufacturing nutritional premixes, which will be predominantly used in infant formula, but also in functional foods. "Eastablishing this site was a natural progression,"​ Eimear O'Neill, assistant marketing manager at Glanbia, told "This site will allow to service our core customers and develop new business all over the Asia Pacific region." ​She said high-end offerings such as those that target sports nutrition would become a priority as Asia's increasingly wealthy populations became more interested in these kinds of products, including China's burgeoning middle classes. Presence in markets such as Australia and New Zealand as well as Japan, the Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore would also be boosted by the site. O'neill said the company had considered buying an existing site in Shanghai but opted for "a greenfield"​ site because of the greater space it afforded and the flexibility that came with that. The opening was attended by "local dignitaries and key figures from Asia-Pacific's food and beverage industry",​ Glanbia said. In a statement Glanbia said: "The site specialises in developing value-adding nutritional solutions, based primarily on vitamins and minerals, for a range of sectors including functional foods and beverages, nutraceuticals, performance nutrition, dietary supplements and infant nutrition."​ Ingredients and nutritionals is Glanbia's largest division and its offerings include cheese, butter, casein and protein ingredient. Glanbia reported a buoyant 2007 with sales of €1.4bn increasing 30 per cent compared to 2006. Profits jumped a massive 93 per cent to €85m, with margins growing from 4.1 per cent to 6.1 per cent. Glanbia's full results for the first six months of 2008 are expected on 27 August 2008.

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