Lithuania-based dairy major Vilvi Group is injecting €50m ($54.6m) into increasing cheese production at its facility in Bauska in Latvia.

Vilvi described the move as the company’s “largest investment project” in 31 years.

The investment is expected to be completed by 2027, Vilvi said in a statement.

Just Food has contacted the group to clarify if the additional capacity will be added to the existing plant in Bauska, or whether it involves the construction of a new facility.

The new capacity will be added at a site formerly belonging to SIA Baltic Dairy Board. Vilva snapped up a 70% stake in the local peer in 2021 and acquired the remaining 30% minority interest last April.

Vilvi is financing the project through a combination of its own funds and loans from Citadele Bank.

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Latvia’s government is also investing €8.5m in the construction, via the state-run development finance institution, Altum.

The project will also offer new employment opportunities, Vilvi said, though it is unclear at this stage how many it will offer.

In the 12 months ending 31 December 2023, Vilvi saw its revenues decline 9.3% to €212.2m. Its EBITDA hit €21m, a 15% increase on the year prior. Annual net profit was up 15% on 2022 figures.

Vilvi’s main export market is the EU, with the region making up 49% of its sales in 2023. Lithuania, which made up 17% of its sales in 2023. It also exports to Asia, the Middle East, and the Americas, which made up 34% of its sales last year.

Last year, sales to the EU were down 22.1% to €103.3m. Sales to Lithuania were up 36.9%, at €36.6m, while exports to other countries declined 3%, to €72.2m.

Vilvi’s consumer brands range includes its namesake label under which it sells Gouda cheese slices. It also makes cheeses under the Memel name, such as the Reserve 12, Piquant 2, and Prussia 3 cheese rounds and blocks, as well a range of blue cheese dips and blocks.  

The remainder of its dairy range features yogurts, cream cheese, sour cream, kefir and low-sugar glazed cream cheese bars and curd spreads under the Vilkyškių Pieninė label, as well as a whey protein powder under GymOn.