Lion holds local licence to Yoplait

Lion holds local licence to Yoplait

Japanese group Kirin Holdings has doubled the capacity of a dairy products plant in Australia.

Lion, Kirin's Australian dairy and beverages subsidiary, said A$50m had been spent on the facility in Morwell in the state of Victoria. The investment has added 12 jobs to a site that employs around 200 people, Lion said.

Additional capacity was needed to meet demand and there is the potential to further expand the plant,  Ken Sanders, regional operations director for dairy foods, said.

"The latest technology in areas such as cooling, packing and logistics have boosted production to between 70 and 80,000 tonnes, with room to grow even more over coming years," Sanders said.

In August, Lion reported a fall in half-year sales and profits from its dairy and drinks division.

Lower branded milk sales and Australian retailers' moves to sell own-label milk for A$1, which attracted shoppers away from other outlets, hit profits, Lion said. It also said the loss of private label contracts and "deletions" to its fresh dairy range affected volumes.

However, citing AC Nielsen stats, it said its NPD work behind Yoplait had pushed the fresh dairy category into growth.

The Morwell plant produces yoghurt and dairy desserts under brands including Farmers Union and Divine Classic. Lion also manufacturers products under licence for Yoplait at the facility.