The executive management’s decision to significantly increase the investments of the company was approved at a meeting in London this week by Arla Foods’ board of directors.
The farmer-owned cooperative will invest in new and expanded production capacity as well as innovative technology.
Identifying new projects
Chairman of Arla Foods Åke Hantoft said 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 said the board has 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,” Hantoft said.
Having grown the business by 50% in the last decade, Arla, which now operates in 120 countries, is focusing its investment in four key areas, which it said are meeting the growing demand for dairy; healthy and natural products that match consumer lifestyles; leading the way in whey; and sustainable food production that considers the future of the planet.
Arla said 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 US.
Two-thirds of this year’s spend will focus on increasing Arla’s European production capacity, with €266m ($331m) being invested in Denmark, €82m ($102m) in the UK, €78m ($97m) in Sweden, and €65m ($81m) in Germany, with €36m ($44.8m) for production in other countries.
Peder Tuborgh, CEO, Arla Foods, said the investment plan is aimed at expanding positions in key dairy categories and geographic markets where Arla is already a key player.
New Lactofree production in UK
Arla will use its experience from its Scandinavian markets and a €56m ($70m) investment to lay the foundations for the production of Lactofree products at its Aylesbury site in the UK.
In Southeast Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, disposable income is increasing and families are increasingly demanding nutritious dairy products. To be able to supply the increasing demand, Arla plans to expand its production site in Pronsfeld, Germany, which supplies milk powder and UHT milk for many of Arla Foods’ strategic growth markets outside Europe.
The investment in 2018 is €10m ($12.5m), with another estimated €180m ($224m) over the next two years.
The project will add another milk drying tower to the existing production of milk powder in Pronsfeld, and construction is planned to start in late 2018, subject to all governmental approvals. It is expected to be ready for production in 2021.
Working with whey
With its subsidiary Arla Foods Ingredients, the company has taken a by-product once cast aside from cheese production and using whey to create value-added whey protein ingredients for food industry customers around the world.
Arla Foods will invest more than €100m ($124.6m) in new technology and capacity expansions for its production of natural whey protein ingredients for the global food industry.
In Sweden, a further €5m ($6.2m) will be invested by Arla Foods to add a whey processing capacity at Falkenberg dairy, which can concentrate whey from the site’s cottage cheese production and add more value through Arla Foods Ingredients.
Renewable energy sources
In line with the targets on sustainability set by Arla Foods in its Good Growth 2020 strategy the investment plan supports 46 projects with a total investment of €15m ($18.7m).
The projects will help Arla Foods reduce its carbon emissions and help the company pursue its goal to ensure that at least half the energy Arla Foods uses must come from renewable sources like biomass, wind and water by 2020.
An example of this is the construction of a large biogas facility by Arla’s dairy site in Nr. Vium, Denmark, which will supply heat for the production of milk powder.