Jobs boost as Laois set to get nearly 80 new jobs at new €130 million Portlaoise cheese plant

Conor Ganly

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Conor Ganly

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news@leinsterexpress.ie

jobs portlaoise

Leprino and Glanbia to set up in Portlaoise.

Nearly 80 jobs are to be created in Laois at a new pizza cheese manufacturing facility in Portlaoise which will also deliver some 250 construction jobs in the process, Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan has confirmed.

The jobs are to be created thanks to a partnership between Irish food giant Glanbia plc and the American-based Leprino Foods and Enterprise Ireland. The companies formed a joint venture nearly 20 years ago to expand into the European pizza market as mozzarella suppliers.

A site for the new facility has been identified at the recently established Togher National Industrial Estate in Portlaoise. 

A total of €130 million will be invested in this world-class facility, which is supported by Enterprise Ireland.

Portlaoise is going to deliver for Glanbia and Leprino says Minister Flanagan.

"Everyone in this area knows it needs investment, everyone knows it needs jobs – good jobs…   and today we have news of both as we gather to announce this significant new investment which has been agreed between Glanbia plc, Leprino Foods and Enterprise Ireland. 

"It is great to see a company like Leprino choosing to come to the Midlands and in particular to County Laois. I take that choice as a major vote of confidence in my county and I assure you it will prove justified," said Minister Flanagan at the launch. 

"This is the sort of project which has a major impact on an area. The construction phase alone is due to deliver 250 jobs, while, when it’s up and running, the facility will support 78 new, high quality jobs in cheese manufacturing," said the TD.

"From Laois and Portlaoise’s point of view, aside from the specific jobs boost, investments like this are really important - because of what they show.  They show that big successful enterprises see reason to have confidence in us, that they recognise what we have to offer … a strategic location - in the heart of the country - excellent road and rail links; and a workforce with sufficient skills that a company like Leprino chooses it to grow and embed its operations in Ireland.

The 40,000-metric ton facility will require significant amounts of dairy ingredients - the equivalent of 400 million litres of milk a year.

"That has to be good news for our dairy farmers," said Minister Flanagan.

Based in Denver, Colorado, and founded as a small, family-run cheese business 65 years ago, Leprino Foods now claims to be world’s largest mozzarella cheese maker and top producer of whey protein and dairy ingredients.

Still family-owned, the company prides itself on having a reputation of being a dairy industry pioneer, supplying the highest-quality products to food and nutrition companies around the globe.

Glanbia employs over 6,600 people across 32 countries and our products are sold or distributed in over 130 countries with revenue of €2.4 billion in 2017.

In August 2000, Glanbia plc entered into joint venture, worth almost £30 million, with the Leprino Foods Company to expand further into then fast-growing European pizza cheese market.

Leprino operates a plant with Glanbia in Co Down.

Address by Minister Charlie Flanagan TD
Glanbia EU Cheese, Leprino Foods and Enterprise Ireland Food
 FDI announcement
Monday, 16th July 2018

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Portlaoise is ready
Portlaoise is willing
And Portlaoise is going to deliver for Glanbia and Leprino.

I am absolutely delighted to be here today and, as a public representative, I feel really fortunate to be in position to bring such good news to my own town.  Everyone in this area knows it needs investment, everyone knows it needs jobs – good jobs…   and today we have news of both as we gather to announce this significant new investment which has been agreed between Glanbia plc, Leprino Foods and Enterprise Ireland. 

It is great to see a company like Leprino choosing to come to the Midlands and in particular to County Laois. I take that choice as a major vote of confidence in my county and I assure you it will prove justified. 

This is the sort of project which has a major impact on an area. The construction phase alone is due to deliver 250 jobs, while, when it’s up and running, the facility will support 78 new, high quality jobs in cheese manufacturing.

We know that they will be quality jobs in a top enterprise because together, Glanbia and Leprino are delivering already. As you may know, they have partnered since 2000, and between them, their plants in Northern Ireland and Wales are already producing top quality mozzarella cheese for customers throughout the EU and UK.

And now Portlaoise is set to join them, to complement them, and to help them continue their expansion into European markets.Leprino is a great company. You have to be, to go from humble beginnings, to becoming the world’s largest and most sophisticated mozzarella producer, while staying in family ownership.  So James Leprino’s company is a prime example of what can be achieved by hard work, ambition and vision and we are really looking forward to seeing what more can be achieved when his company combines in this deal, with the similar hard work, ambition and vision of Glanbia.

Because we in Ireland are rightly proud of Glanbia and of how it has grown and developed.

Its cheese business already has an enviable list of clients across Europe, but this will expand the reach.  And it’s great to see that their, and indeed our, dairy excellence will soon manifest itself in the form of pizza toppings which will be enjoyed by people all over Europe.   It will be an exciting time…. Glanbia Cheese EU will have access to over 50 Leprino patents… and when they are combined with Glanbia’s expertise and technological advances, we will surely end up with innovative tastes and unmatched flexibility in what is a highly competitive market place.

And of course this enterprise will add greatly to our dairy marketplace.  The 40,000-metric ton facility will require significant amounts of dairy ingredients -the equivalent of 400 million litres of milk a year. That has to be good news for our dairy farmers.From Laois and Portlaoise’s point of view, aside from the specific jobs boost, investments like this are really important - because of what they show.  They show that big successful enterprises see reason to have confidence in us, that they recognise what we have to offer … a strategic location - in the heart of the country - excellent road and rail links; and a workforce with sufficient skills that a company like Leprino chooses it to grow and embed its operations in Ireland.
In recent years, our country has transformed itself to the fastest growing economy in the European Union.  The most recently published figures are very strong, growth is broad-based, and our international reputation is restored.

But we do, of course still face challenges.  The Brexit process will have implications for us, but as a Government, we have plans in place to mitigate its impact and to seize the various opportunities which may arise. My colleagues in the Department of Jobs & Enterprise and agencies such as IDA and Enterprise Ireland have done tremendous work in this area – as evidenced indeed, in this deal.

And so I would like particularly to commend Enterprise Ireland, CEO Julie Sinnamon and her team today, for securing this investment for Ireland and Portlaoise.  As I said earlier, I know it will have a long lasting positive effect on the locality, and we in the locality are very aware of the extent to which  Enterprise Ireland’s financial and operational support and experience were key to securing it.

So thank you Enterprise Ireland, and  thank you too Glanbia and Leprino Foods.  

Your joint commitment means so much to us.

I look forward to the successful growth of your exciting project and I am  confident that your investment will prove very beneficial both to your company and to Ireland Inc. in the years ahead.