Bega Cheese is to spend $34 million building a new lactoferrin extraction plant at its newly acquired Koroit dairy plant in Victoria’s south west.
The move will make the NSW South Coast-based dairy business one of the world’s largest producers of the specialty protein for the health food and infant formula market.
Bega expects to produce about 35 tonnes of the lactoferrin extract annually at Koroit, complementing its production at Tatura in northern Victoria, which began in 2002.
Lactoferrin, a naturally occurring iron building protein in milk, is valued for its anti-microbial, anti inflammatory and immunological properties. Its functional characteristics have made it globally popular in a range of consumer health and nutritional food products.
Bega chief executive officer Paul van Heerwaarden said the new plant would supply pharmaceutical and nutritional powder product makers.
“The investment at Koroit will position Bega as one of the largest manufacturers of lactoferrin globally and is a major step forward in the growth of our bio-nutrients business,” he said.
Bega, which paid $250 million for the former Murray Goulburn plant at Koroit from Canadian dairy heavyweight, Saputo, last July,aims to process up to 450m litres at the site this financial year. In October it raised $250m to help bolster its books after the new factory purchase.
Earlier this month, Bega announced a 14c/kgms increase to its south-west suppliers.
The 14c kgms loyalty payment and milk price increase was a response to competition and the returns the company was receiving from the dairy market.
Bega is seeking to build up milk supply to the Koroit factory that was operating significantly under capacity when it acquired it in a forced sale from Saputo last year.
Bega Cheese chairman Barry Irwin said it expected to receive another 120-150 million litres in 2018-2019 to supply its Koroit factory on top of the 300 million litres guaranteed by Saputo.
The increase in milk supply had led Bega to take on seven more staff at Koroit. Bega’s purchase of the Koroit factory from Saputo last year had given the more than 100 workers at the plant job security.
- The story Bega Cheese to build $34m high value milk protein plant first appeared on Farm Online.
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