The new facility will replace the hard cheese plant, which was destroyed by fire in December 2014, with a larger, modern facility that will produce cheeses for Australian consumer, foodservice and export markets.
Fonterra Oceania Managing Director Judith Swales says investing in the new plant will help Fonterra to deliver on its multi-hub strategy to get the maximum value out of every drop of milk and drive increased returns from the business.
“Today’s announcement is strategy in action, where we are delivering on our strategic plan to transform our Australian business and return it to strong and sustainable profitability.
“We are focusing on areas where we can win in a highly competitive market, and that means optimising our product mix and investing in higher value add products that will deliver the best returns for our farmer shareholders. Rebuilding and expanding our Stanhope cheese plant is key to this.
“The new state-of-the-art facility will be able to produce 45,000MT of cheeses each year including parmesan, gouda and mozzarella, an increase of 15,000MT on the previous plant.
“As the branded market leader in the A$1.95 billion retail cheese category, with Bega, Mainland and Perfect Italiano commanding 23 per cent market share, the new plant will supply our Australian consumer and foodservice businesses, and export markets.
“It will leverage our footprint in 100 markets and also the recent free trade agreements with China, Japan, and Korea.
“The new cheese plant is an important part of our multi-hub strategy, which sees our Australian business play to its ingredients strengths in cheese, whey and nutritionals complemented by our consumer and foodservice businesses. It will provide whey to our Darnum and Dennington plants, which are at the core of our growing Australian nutritionals business.
”Importantly, the new plant will require significant growth of the local milk pool by 2020, and demonstrates Fonterra’s commitment to growing the industry long term. It means our local farmers can be assured of the future of dairy in northern Victoria,” said Ms Swales.
The multi-million dollar project will secure the future of the site and generate up to 30 jobs and is being supported by the Victorian Government through its Regional Jobs and Infrastructure Fund.
“We acknowledge and thank the Victorian Government for their support of this project, which will help secure Stanhope’s future as a world-class producer of cheese,” says Ms Swales.
Speaking at the unveiling of the plans, Victoria’s Minister for Regional Development, the Hon. Jaala Pulford said Fonterra’s investment demonstrated its confidence in the future of Australian dairy.
“Fonterra’s significant investment in their Stanhope facility is a major vote of confidence in Victoria’s dairy industry and confirms regional Victoria’s reputation as a great place to do business.”
Construction of the new plant will begin next year, and is expected to be completed in 2017.
Click here to watch a video and learn more about Fonterra’s operations in Australia.