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Arla Foods to invest £72m at UK sites
The farmer-owned dairy cooperative Arla Foods has announced a plan to invest almost half a billion pounds (€527 million) in 2018 as the company continues to deliver on its 2020 growth ambition, with £72 million earmarked for 10 UK sites.
The decision to significantly increase the investments of the company was approved at a meeting by Arla Foods’ board of directors, which consists mainly of elected farmer owners. Arla Foods will invest in new, expanded and improved production capacity as well as innovative technology.
The Chair of Arla Foods, Åke Hantoft, underlined that all investments by Arla Foods are made to secure long-term growth and profit opportunities for the company’s 11,200 farmer owners across Europe. He said: “Arla has a history of good investments for sustained growth. The board of directors has decided to increase our investments with this plan, because we have identified new projects and investments with short and long term potential for significant return. The business growth these investments will create for our company will generate growth opportunities for our farmer owners. We see these investments as essential to the future of our business.”
Arla has grown by 50 per cent in the last decade and now operates in 120 countries worldwide.
£72 million of the investment will be spent in the UK in 2018, a clear sign of Arla’s commitment to dairy production across the UK.
In total, ten of Arla’s twelve sites across the UK will receive investment for upgrades. As Arla’s biggest single market, the company’s economic footprint in the UK is valued at more than £6 billion in Gross Value Added (GVA), equivalent to 0.52 per cent of the entire business economy and 0.33 per cent of UK GDP².
Arla’s carbon net zero site in Aylesbury will see the biggest proportion of UK spend with an investment of £33.6 million as it becomes the UK home to the production of Arla’s lactose free dairy products using milk from UK farmers in the South East and the Midlands. Having led the way in Lactose free dairy production across Europe, Arla considers the UK a key market for Lactose free products and will use its experience in Scandinavian markets to meet the increasing UK demand.
The investment in Aylesbury will also provide new facilities for the production of new product packaging using flexible pouches. The commitment of financial investment for the diversification of its packaging materials signals a clear move from Arla to explore alternatives to plastic. As a company which has already committed to using 100 per cent recyclable plastic by 2020 and 50 per cent recycled plastic in its plastic milk bottles, the investment into emerging packaging is further evidence of Arla’s commitment to sustainable business.
£5.5 million will be used to upgrade processing facilities at Arla’s Lockerbie plant in Scotland. The figure takes investment in Scotland in recent years to over £44 million which included the installation of an anaerobic digester to offset Lockerbie’s carbon footprint. Continued investment is further evidence of the strategic importance of Arla’s site in Scotland and its position as one of the most advanced dairy sites in the region.
The remaindering £32.5 million will be split across Arla’s sites in Melton Mowbray, Llandyrnog, Malpas, Oakthorpe, Stourton, Settle, Oswestry and Trevarrian. The figure also includes non-site specific investments which will enable Arla to continue to drive growth for the farmers which own it and capitalise on increasing demand for dairy.
Tomas Pietrangeli, Managing Director, Arla Foods UK, added: “Arla is the biggest dairy company in the UK, owned by 11,200 farmers across Europe. This investment is almost double the investment of last year and, with the exception of building the Aylesbury dairy, it is the biggest annual investment for Arla in the UK. While milk prices remain volatile and Brexit brings both uncertainty and opportunity, Arla farmers in the UK and across Europe are committed to continually investing in our UK business to maintain pace with the demand for nature’s original superfood, and the consumer choice it creates.”