Arla Foods announces global investment

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.

The decision to increase the investments of the company was approved at a meeting in London by Arla Foods’ board of directors, which consists mainly of elected farmer owners.

The chair of Arla Foods, Åke Hantoft, underlines 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.

Hantoft says, “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.”

Having grown the business by 50% in the last decade, Arla, which now operates in 120 countries worldwide is focusing its investment in four key areas:

  • Meeting the growing demand for dairy
  • Healthy and natural products that match consumer lifestyles
  • Leading the way in whey
  • Sustainable food production that considers the future of our planet.

According to Arla, £72m (€82m) of the investment will be spent in the UK in 2018.

In total, ten of Arla’s 12 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 over £6 billion in Gross Value Added (GVA), equivalent to 0.52% of the entire business economy and 0.33% of UK GDP.

Arla’s carbon net zero site in Aylesbury, UK will see the biggest proportion of UK spend with an investment of £33.6m (€38.4m) 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

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% recyclable plastic by 2020 and 50% recycled plastic in its plastic milk bottles, the investment into emerging packaging supports Arla’s commitment to sustainable business.

£5.5m (€6.34m) 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 remaining £32.5m (€37.2m) 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 continue to drive growth for the farmers which own it and capitalise on increasing demand for dairy.

Tomas Pietrangeli, managing director, Arla Foods UK, comments, “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.”

The remaining £460m (€527m) investment enables Arla Foods to take advantage of wider growth opportunities on behalf of its farmer owners as dairy consumption worldwide grows faster than it ever has.

50% of the investments in 2018 are targeted projects aimed at growing Arla Foods’ sales outside Europe, where the company’s fastest growing strategic growth markets are Middle East and North Africa, China and Southeast Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and the United States.

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