Dairy giant FrieslandCampina is to invest EUR36m (US$49.5m) in its Belgian production plant in Aalter with the creation of around 90 jobs.

The investment, the firm said today (27 January), will almost double production capacity. Completion is expected in around one and a half years and will enable the location in Aalter to develop into a “state of the art factory”.

FrieslandCampina, which came into existence in December 2008 from the merger of Friesland Foods and Campina, said it is now focusing on innovation and sustainable development, and therefore investing in its Belgian production locations.

Products manufactured in Aalter are not solely for the Belgian market but also for the French, UK, German and Dutch markets. Brands made there include Joyvalle and Campina. However, FrieslandCampina said the expanded facility will also begin producing the Fristi, Cécémel and Nutroma brands.

The extra volume to be transferred from other FrieslandCampina locations will create employment for 90 people in addition to the 500 staff currently employed at the facility.

Hugo Verhaegen, managing director of FrieslandCampina Belgium, said: “Thanks to this project, the plant in Aalter will be given the chance to produce a number of top brands from the FrieslandCampina product spectrum.

“But it’s not going to be a rush job, as the high-tech nature of our production process means we have to put a lot of thought into how we want to refurbish while still guaranteeing the highest quality. Owing to the substantial investment, we can continue to expand our company and our know-how. The idea that we will be creating 90 extra jobs is a great way to start 2011.”