THANKS to new “world-class facilities” LacPatrick Co-op in Artigarvan is now in a stronger position to deal with any fall-out from the Brexit process.
The local plant’s new £30million Dairy Technology Centre was officially opened recently, the end result of 18 months of building.
Apart from 20 new jobs for the locality, the expansion has also placed LacPatrick at the forefront of the European Dairy Industry.
The new facility at the Artigarvan plant houses an ultra-modern Evaporation and Spray Drying Technology capable of making advanced dairy ingredients for LacPatrick’s rapidly expanding markets in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
LacPatrick’s chief executive, Gabriel D’Arcy said the new Dairy Technology Centre would double the site’s capacity and has the potential to significantly increase the product portfolio and company turnover in the years ahead.
Currently LacPatrick has a combined turnover of £300million, employs more than 300 people (over 70 of whom work in Artigarvan) and buys approximately 600million litres of milk annually from around 1,110 Ulster farmers.
“This is one of the most exciting innovations and investments within the dairy sector and positions LacPatrick as one of the largest producers of dairy ingredients in the UK,” Gabriel D’Arcy said.
“Not only does it make us self-sufficient in terms of processing our own milk pool but it means we can now also assist other processors with additional high end milk.
“This cutting-edge investment is an important part of LacPatrick’s measured growth strategy and we envisage further major announcements during the next five year period as we consolidate our position as a leader within the Northern Ireland dairy industry.
“Given the uncertainty presented by Brexit, having three strategically-located, world-class facilities both north and south of the border positions us in a stronger competitive position to deal with any Brexit consequences.
“This market resilience is particularly important as LacPatrick is a local company with a growing global reach with our products being found on shelves throughout the UK and Ireland and beyond in places such as Africa, Middle East, Far East Australia.”
Gas to the West showcase
As well as officially opening its new plant LacPatrick also hosted a Gas to the West showcase event.
VIP guests included the Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District, Cllr Maolíosa McHugh and officers from a number of local councils within the catchment area of Gas to the West which is scheduled to deliver mains gas and meters to 40,000 customers over the next 40 years in Cookstown, Coalisland, Derrylin, Dungannon, Enniskillen, Magherafelt, Omagh and Strabane.
Welcoming the visitors to the event, Gabriel D’Arcy said the Berryhill Road premises connection to the new gas pipeline was crucial to the company’s decision to invest in the multi-million pound processing facility.
He continued, “LacPatrick is pleased to report a high level of satisfaction with our gas powered dairy processing and technology centre and we would strongly recommend natural gas as the fuel of choice to other manufacturing companies within the Gas to the West catchment area.”