Work on $24m plant under way

JILL GALLOWAY
Last updated 12:00 23/05/2014

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Construction has started on Proliant's multimillion-dollar plant at Feilding.

The company is putting in foundations and expects to put concrete walls up within a week.

Proliant is building a $24 million factory to process cattle blood. It has a section in Kawakawa Rd, opposite Manfeild Park. There was room to expand the business, and it planned to do just that, chief executive Stephen Welch said.

The Feilding plant's general manager, Paul Lewis, said work was going according to plan, and the construction project was on track to finish in about 12 months.

The plant is expected to be fully operational and selling bio products in January 2016.

Lewis said most equipment would be ordered by the end of the month.

He said there would be cranes at the site for months as the plant's walls went into place.

"We can put them up in rain, but not wind," he said.

The company has also filed for additional building consents with the Manawatu District Council.

Welch said Feilding was chosen for the Iowa-based company's New Zealand plant because it had land available and was near Massey University.

It is expected to employ about 30 people, in high-end and engineering jobs, taking home about $1.5m in wages a year.

It will use the plasma to produce bovine serum albumin, which is used in pharmaceuticals, vaccines and medical research throughout the world.

Welch said all blood from the 2.4 million cattle killed throughout New Zealand was being eyed by the company, including a deal with New Zealand's biggest meat company, Silver Fern Farms.

Proliant will initially take cattle blood from Finnegand in South Otago and Te Aroha, and later from all of Silver Fern Farms' plants.

There is also a protocol to take Australian cattle blood when the plant expands.

Of critical importance in Proliant coming to New Zealand was the traceability system for meat and lack of disease in cattle.

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- Manawatu Standard

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