Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory Company Holdings Ltd (WCB) and Friesland Foods Domo today signed all necessary project agreements to form a 50/50 joint company, Great Ocean Ingredients Pty Ltd.

The deal follows a memorandum of understanding entered into in February 2007.

The new venture will manufacture nutritional and functional ingredients for the worldwide food, infant nutrition and pharmaceutical industries.

The construction of the new production facility at WCB's Allansford site near Warrnambool and the manufacture of plant and equipment will be tendered shortly and, subject to certain conditions, the contracts will be awarded and construction will begin in September 2007 with project completion expected to occur in early 2009.

While costs are yet to be finalised, the total investment in the new production facility is
expected to be approximately AUD50m.

Under the terms of the agreement, the joint venture company will draw on Friesland Foods Domo's expertise in manufacturing value added whey- and milk-based ingredients and use WCB's raw materials to produce nutritional and functional ingredients, such as Vivinal GOS.

WCB chief executive officer Neil Kearney said: "The company's participation in the joint
venture is ideally aligned with the value-adding aspect of our growth strategy. Utilising
Friesland's technical expertise and WCB's raw materials in the form of the whey stream
from the existing manufacturing process at our plant, Great Ocean Ingredients will create
a cutting-edge, high-value product for export."