Canada’s McCain Foods is to invest AUD37m (US$26m) in upgrading a potato plant in Tasmania, Australia.

The frozen food specialist said the upgrade at the Smithton plant will lead to it growing capacity and productivity and will support the recent addition of 17 jobs at the facility.

Claudia Martinez, McCain Foods’ managing director for Australia and New Zealand, said: “This investment is a major vote of confidence in Smithton, our 95-strong workforce and the top-quality products they manufacture every, single day,

“Our potato plant is already one of Smithton’s largest employers, and we are delighted to be in a position to further grow our Tasmanian footprint, increase production and create new jobs locally.”

During the construction phase, the plant upgrade will create more than 60 new jobs and inject a further AUD$15m in local trade and labour contracts throughout the life of the project, McCain said.

Once the upgrade is completed, the plant will be capable of manufacturing 25 new retail products and providing additional capacity across the entire McCain supply network.

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While the hash brown and French fries maker’s Smithton plant has received several minor upgrades since it was first built in 1987, this is the most significant capital investment in the site to date.

The plant upgrade will commence next month and is expected to be completed by January 2020.