OVER 100 full-time jobs will be created, when as expected, a new milk processing plant is built by Glanbia Plc and the farmer controlled co-op that has the majority shareholding in it, in South Kilkenny. It is thought that a planning application for the new joint venture close to Belview port, on IDA owned land will be submitted before the end of the summer. Technical experts working for the global food company have been secretly working on the plans for the last 12 months. The new facility will be two thirds the size of the existing milk processing factory in Ballyragget. There will be over 400 jobs created during construction. It will have to be completed by 2015 to take advantage of the extra milk expected to be produced by farmers following the abolition of the EU milk quota system.
Minister for the environment Phil Hogan has welcomed the jobs and the prospective decision to site at Belview. “I expect the continued co-operation of the State agencies to proceed,” he said.
President of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA), John Bryan from Inistioge, a Glanbia Co-op member has urged farmers to agree to the joint venture and build the plant. He said Glanbia board members had to be ambitious in their final discussions and ensure that dairy farmers were put firmly back in control of their industry. “Any final decisions must facilitate greater transparency, collaboration and integration of future processing facilities within the region,” he added.
He said Glanbia Plc had led down milk prices this year, and challenged the board to ensure there were no further cuts in advance of the end-of-August deadline to finalise the deal between the co-op and the plc.
Glanbia Plc was more cautionary saying that it continued to engage in constructive discussions with its majority shareholder, Glanbia Co-operative Society Limited (“the Society”), to create a joint venture (40% Glanbia plc: 60% the Society) in respect of its Irish dairy processing business. “For any new processing capacity to be ready for 2015 a planning application needs to be submitted in early July. Consequently, Glanbia is finalising an option to purchase a greenfield site at Belview from IDA Ireland,” a statement said. “Any new development is contingent on the final outcome of the ongoing discussions with the Society. Considerable progress has been made with the proposed transaction and while discussions are progressing well, it is now expected that these discussions will not be concluded before the end of August 2012,” the statement said.