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Ireland-based ingredients, flavours and consumer foods group Kerry has announced details of its €20m (US$26.0m) business development programme for the Chinese market.

Through this programme, Kerry said it plans to establish state-of-the-art manufacturing, technical and administrative facilities in Hangzhou in Zhejiang Province to meet the growing requirements for food ingredients and flavours amid China’s booming economy and fast growing dynamic consumer market requirements.

Hugh Friel, Kerry’s chief executive, said that the programme will significantly expand the group’s asset and customer base in China through the acquisition of Hangzhou Lanli Food Industry Company (Lanli), located in Hangzhou, and through the establishment of a new multi-processing manufacturing facility and technical centre on a 16-acre greenfield site in the HEDA Economic Zone (Hangzhou Economic and Technological Development Area).

The acquisition of Lanli will be completed by the end of March 2005 and the greenfield development programme will commence mid-year with all facilities to be fully commissioned by year-end 2006, Kerry said.

“With changing consumer trends and nutrition requirements, particularly in major population centres of the vast Chinese market, this region will be a major focus for the group and its food manufacturing and foodservice customers in the decade ahead. Kerry’s food ingredients and flavour technologies will be focused on the significant growth opportunities in China in the food processing and foodservice sectors – particularly in nutritional, dairy, flavoured noodle, brewing, flavoured beverage, snack and bakery market segments,” Friel said.

In addition to the planned development of the group’s Chinese operations, Kerry said it continues to achieve “excellent progress” in expanding its Asia Pacific market presence from its operations in Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Thailand and in Malaysia.