Open Country to expand plant

Last updated 13:22 14/11/2012

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Open Country Dairy is to build a $20 million-plus extension to its Waharoa manufacturing plant in the Waikato, taking on up to 30 more farmer suppliers and extending its export product range.

Chairman Laurie Margrain said the company - the country's second biggest dairy processor after co-operative giant Fonterra - was significantly expanding its skim milk powder and milk fats production capacity, upgrading its cheese plant and readying the plant to be more able to respond to market demands.

Major construction work would start in February and be completed in time for the start of the 2013-2014 season in June.

The existing Waharoa plant employs 125 staff and has 306 farmer suppliers.

Margrain said the expansion would "not be much of a job creator" because of Open Country's systems but 25 more farmers had been signed up for next season with more in line.

Open Country also has manufacturing sites in Wanganui and Southland.

It has a property consented for dairy manufacture at Horotiu north of Hamilton, near the site of the Affco meat processing plant, owned by major Open Country shareholder Talleys.

Margrain said there were no immediate plans to build a processing operation on the property.

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- Waikato Times

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