Cork-headquartered food and ingredients group Carbery has secured a €35 million loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB) towards the cost of a €78 million manufacturing plant in Ballineen.
The new facility, which forms part of a €100 million investment programme by the company behind Dubliner cheese, will enable the company to diversify its range of products and produce mozzarella for export.
Carbery, which employs 700 people, now operates from eight locations across Ireland, Britain, the US, Brazil and Thailand. Its plant in Ballineen is the Republic’s largest single cheese-producing facility, producing almost 25 per cent of the State’s annual output.
The company is owned by four Irish co-operatives – Bandon, Barryroe, Drinagh and Lisavaird.
"Our latest investment is key for harnessing new international export opportunities and diversifying our product range," said chief executive Jason Hawkins.
He said it would secure new markets for Irish dairy farmers.
The 12-year loan is the first Irish investment provided under a €400 million streamlined agriculture and bioeconomy financing programme launched by EIB last year.
The EIB is the world’s largest international public bank, and last year provided €970 for infrastructure and private sector investment across Ireland. This included €40 million for EY Entrepreneur of the Year winner Devenish Nutrition as part of a bigger €118 million long-term funding deal.
Andrew McDowell, EIB vice-president, said the bank was “committed to supporting transformational investment in Irish agriculture and food that strengthens rural communities”.
Carbery Group, which last year celebrated 50 years of production, reported improved earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation to €43.9 million last year on the back of a 1.5 per cent increase in turnover to €423 million.