Meat giant ABP Food Group is to invest in a pet-food plant in Ireland, with plans to boost the site’s production capacity.

Through C&D Foods, the pet food branch of ABP, the company is investing €48m ($52.6m) in the project at the factory in County Longford, Ireland.

National investment agency Enterprise Ireland is supporting the investment, C&D Foods said in a statement.

Just Food has contacted the group to confirm whether the investment has been fully funded by Enterprise Ireland.

C&D will use the money to expand the pouch pet food facility, which is located in Edgeworthtown. The project will see the installtion of new “automated multi-packing and pouch filling lines” from “the most sustainable innovations available”.

The investment is expected to boost production capacity by a quarter.

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In a statement, Colm Dore, the managing director of C&D Foods, described the move as “an exciting and significant step forward for the business”.

Dore also noted the expansion would help the company “continue to capitalise” on the increasing demand for pouched pet food for small animals in the European market.

He added: “This investment will enable the company to maintain its position at the forefront of the pet food market while also leading to the creation of new high-skilled jobs and positive economic development in our local community.”

Construction of the plant has already started, the group has confirmed, with around people having already bene employed to carry out the work.

Some 100 new roles will also be made at the new site once fully operational. These will be in areas that include engineering, operations, quality assurance and supply chain.

It is not yet known when the project is due to be completed.

Leo Clancy, CEO of Enterprise Ireland said: “We have worked closely with C&D Foods to support them with their sustainability strategy, reducing carbon by investing in carbon abatement technologies and driving productivity through investing in digitalisation technologies.

“This large investment into the new showcase plant in Edgeworthstown reflects highly on the entire Irish food sector – pooling together innovation with best-in-class facilities to drive sustainable practices.”

C&D operates in 11 locations across Europe, including in the Netherlands, Spain, Austria, Italy, the UK, Denmark, Germany and France. Around 500 people work at its Irish sites and 1,400 are employed throughout the continent.

Earlier this month, C&D’s parent ABP had its acquisition of assets from rival Scotbeef approved by the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). The CMA had first launched an investigation into the deal in August following the group’s announcement of its purchase of two Scotbeef meat-packing sites in June.