The Bega signs have officially gone up at Koroit, marking the first day of business for the company at the former Murray Goulburn factory.
Bega Cheese chair Barry Irvin said the $250 million deal to take on the site was good news for workers and the wider region.
“There’s a little over 100 (staff) coming across. Basically, the staff that were here,” Mr Irvin told The Standard.
“I think that’s really another positive. People can feel secure about their prospects and jobs after a number of years of turmoil.”
Mr Irvin said Bega had been collecting milk in the south-west for a decade and would now be looking to up supply from the approximately 100 million litres collected in the region, as well as increasing the factory’s capacity.
“We’ll look to maximise and integrate what we’re doing between our various sites and Koroit will start to form a very important part of that,” he said.
“We’re always looking to grow and expand, obviously there is a lot of opportunity here, there is a lot of unused capacity that we will look to utilise and also look to refine the business bringing in the knowledge we already have.
“Our field service team will get very active very quickly in terms of recruiting supply. We’ve had a very positive response from the dairy farmers down here, I think they’re very pleased to see the facility purchased… because we have been here for 10 years a lot of people know us already.
“We’ve already had lots of inquiries, so that’s really good.”
Mr Irvin said the takeover was important to the region.
“For us, it’s really nice to own such a significant facility and it gives us a great opportunity to grow,” he said. “For farms it also gives them a really nice choice.
“One of the attractions for us was that this factory fits in very well with what we do, particularly up at Tatura, with nutritional powders and those sorts of products.”
Member for South West Coast Roma Britnell said it was a big day for Koroit and the wider region and the move demonstrated confidence in the region’s dairy industry.
“I think it’s good for the Koroit community, the people who work here at the factory and great for the Victorian dairy industry, particularly in south-west Victoria,” she said.
Bega Cheese bought the plant, which produces butter and milk powders, from Canadian dairy giant Saputo for $250 million.
As part of the sale, Bega is guaranteed the plant’s current milk supply of 300 million litres, until June 30, 2020.
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