Goodman Fielder invests in UHT capacity

Goodman Fielder invests in UHT capacity

Goodman Fielder is increasing its production capacity of UHT milk as it eyes expansion opportunities in the Asia Pacific region.

The Australian food firm is investing NZ$27m (US$23.4m) to expand operations at its UHT milk plant in Christchurch, New Zealand. The group is extending the building, installing a new pasteurisation, sterilising and palletising line and a new 250 ml high-speed filler.

The work is expected to be completed in October of next year. It will increase production at the site by 50%, or 32m litres a year, the company said.

Goodman Fielder CEO, Chris Delaney, said the project would enable the company to leverage its existing export capacity to Asia Pacific by meeting the growing demand for dairy products across the region, particularly in China.

"The premium UHT category in Asia Pacific is anticipated to grow by around 50% over the next five years. This project will provide us with additional capacity to address this growing market through our iconic New Zealand Meadow Fresh brand and distribution capability," said Delaney.

The company is witnessing increasing demand for Meadow Fresh products in the region - and in China in particular - he added. "We are investing now to meet that demand and also plan for future growth."

Goodman Fielder currently employees 230 people at the site which produces fresh milk for delivery throughout the South Island and UHT milk products predominantly for export markets.

Last month, the board of Goodman Fielder gave its backing to a A$1.37bn (US$1.29bn) takeover proposal from Singapore agribusiness Wilmar International and First Pacific, the Hong Kong investment fund.