GLANBIA HAS UNVEILED plans to build a new €130 million facility for manufacturing mozzarella cheese in Co Laois.
Subject to planning permission, the plant will be located in Togher National Industrial Estate in Portlaoise. Construction is expected to begin later this year, with cheese production starting in 2020.
The new facility will have a production capacity of 45,000 tonnes of mozzarella per year and Glanbia plans to hire 78 full-time staff at the plant.
It will source most of its key raw materials from Glanbia Ireland and will supply cheese to customers in the food service sector across Europe.
Kilkenny-based food giant Glanbia recorded profits of €329 million last year, with revenue increasing by 7% to €2.4 billion.
Overall, Irish dairy exports were worth more than €4 billion in 2017, according to Bord Bia. This marked an increase of 19% compared to the previous year and represented around one-third of all food and drink exports.
The new development is part of a joint venture between Glanbia and US-based Leprino Foods. The partnership, which was established in 2000, already runs cheese manufacturing operations in Wales and Northern Ireland.
Leprino Foods president Mike Durkin said that the Portlaoise plant will use the two companies’ experience to meet consumer demand for mozzarella.
“It also reflects a desire to increase our presence (in Ireland) and benefit from having a facility that is in close proximity to the growing European markets,” he added.
The mozzarella plant is being supported by the Irish government through Enterprise Ireland.
The state organisation’s chief executive, Julie Sinnamon, said that the Laois site was selected “against strong competition from many other locations”.
She added that the development will support sustainable economic growth and secure employment for the region.