Danish natural ingredients company Chr. Hansen.has announced the conclusion of a large construction project, which produced new laboratories, offices, and an expansion of the existing dairy culture factory in Arpajon, France, making it the world's largest.

The larger factory has a production capacity double of the original plant. The construction budget is 120m Danish kroner (US$20.2m).

"In spite of rising competition, Chr Hansen continues to play a key role in the majority of dairy products which can be found on the shelves in supermarkets. From a marketing point of view, we have moved ahead of the competition over the past couple of years, and we intend to do everything to keep that position," said Lars Frederiksen, CEO and president.

Chr. Hansen produces cultures at its factories in Denmark, the US, Germany and France. It is at the existing site in Arpajon - located approximately an hour's drive from Paris, by the Orge river - that Chr Hansen has build new laboratories, offices and not at least has expanded the existing factory for dairy cultures.

"The new factory is state-of-the-art. We have taken all the best characteristics from our existing factories and made this one better, larger and more automated," said Lars Frederiksen. The new factory operates at double the capacity of the initial Chr Hansen factory.

Frederiksen notes that the reason for expanding the factory in Arpajon is consistent with Chr Hansen's on-going goal of being close to its clients.

In Arpajon Chr Hansen manufactures approximately 200 different lactic acid cultures. In particular, cultures produced for use in dairy products have been the fastest growing market within food ingredients over the past couple of years. Chr Hansen boasts 40% of the revenues in this market.

"We built the extension of our factory in response to the rapid growth in sales of dairy cultures, and to meet the concurrent market demands," said Frederiksen.