New dairy technology centre opens in Artigarvan after £30m investment
DAIRY processor LacPatrick has opened a new technology centre in Artigarvan following a £30 million Danske Bank-backed investment which has led to the creation of 20 jobs in areas such as operations, quality, environmental and health & safety.
LacPatrick was formed in 2015 after a merger between Town of Monaghan Co-Operative and Ballyrashane Co-Operative, and the Artigarvan site has 70 staff, with LacPatrick Dairies employing 300 people across all of its sites.
The new 30,000 sq ft centre will double the site's capacity, making the firm one of the biggest producers of dairy products in the UK. It represents one of the single biggest investments in the Northern Ireland dairy industry in recent years.
Gabriel D'Arcy, chief executive of LacPatrick, said: “This new dairy technology centre will provide security of capacity for local dairy farmers, producing milk to the highest standards.
“The plant provides long-term security to our supplier base and positions the business at the forefront of global dairy technologies.
"We are now able to produce two new lines of milk powder for international markets with the dairy technology centre able to process milk all year round.”
Mr D'Arcy said the core logistical risk of Brexit has been greatly mitigated by the Artigarvan facility (as an exporter out of the UK, LacPatrick says it will be closely monitoring the trading agreements being negotiated).
He added: “We will be focused on driving product development, building relationships with processors seeking access to our technology and expanding our customer base in Asia and the Middle East.
"We have made a significant capital investment with the clear purpose of delivering a sustainable return to our suppliers over the coming months and years ahead.”
Mark Canning, corporate acquisition manager at Danske Bank, which has had a long-standing relationship with Ballyrashane Co-Operative, said: “This significant investment demonstrates LacPatrick's continued innovative approach and dynamic presence in the dairy food sector.”