Minor fire in Synlait Milk boiler

Synlait Milk says a fire in one of its boilers at its Dunsandel plant will not affect production.

The Canterbury milk nutrition products producer said it had a minor fire in one of its boilers at the plant south of Christchurch yesterday evening.

The manufacturer today said all automated systems functioned properly and the fire brigade were alerted directly when the smoke sensor was activated in the boiler facility. Several fire appliances were at the scene on standby during the incident.

The company, which has recently raised capital, said no damage was suffered and the boiler was now fully operational.

No impact on operations or plant activity was expected, it added.

There were no injuries during the event.

In May Synlait Milk announced plans to invest $180 million to upgrade the Dunsandel milk plant and build a packaging plant and new warehouse.

It plans to produce a specialist ingredient for infant formula, which is in high demand in China.

The investment would enable Synlait Milk to become one of only two manufacturers in the world to produce lactoferrin as a spray-dried powder to be added to products including infant formula and nutritional powders.

Synlait Milk has a variety of owners including Chinese company Bright Dairy which has invested more than $220m in Dunsandel over six years.

The plant upgrade plans include the introduction of a higher hygiene standard to allow Synlait to manufacture dairy ingredients to a pharmaceutical standard.

Other investors in Synlait include Japanese trading giant Mitsui & Co, Dutch dairy firm FrieslandCampina Investments and Synlait managing director and co-founder John Penno.

Another 2296 new shareholders were added during a recent initial public offer of shares, including institutions in New Zealand, Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong, employees and suppliers of Synlait Milk and New Zealand retail investors.

Synlait Milk shares this morning were trading 1 cent weaker at $2.76.

The Press