It comes after food and agri-business company Olam International, which operates in 60 countries worldwide supplying food and industrial raw materials to over 19,800 customers, sold its 15.19 per cent share in Open Country Dairy earlier this year for over $80 million to the Talley’s Group.
The new facility is likely to have a significant impact on Tokoroa’s economy, which relies heavily on the forestry and agricultural sector. The company, which is one of the world’s biggest suppliers of cocoa beans and coffee, netted the equivalent of over NZ$35 billion in 2019.
Subsidiary company Olam Food Ingredients’ global head of dairy processing, Naval Sabri, said the company decided to reinvest in New Zealand due to growing global demand for New Zealand products.
“We have enjoyed a long and successful history in New Zealand through our previous investment in Open Country Dairy. There is strong and growing demand from our global customers for high quality, New Zealand dairy products,” he said.
“To be able to meet this demand and offer more customised solutions for our customers, we are progressing with plans to directly invest in our own dairy processing facility at Tokoroa.”
But Sabri is staying coy about what the facility will look like for now.
“The plant development is in the early stages and a formal announcement is planned in the coming weeks,” he said.
“Our priority at the moment is to meet with, and listen to, the views of farmers first. This will ensure we deliver on our commitment to develop milk supply partnerships in a way that best meets local needs.”
South Waikato Mayor Jenny Shattock said the development follows several years of the council and the South Waikato Investment Fund Trust (SWIFT), which was set up in 2014 to manage council funds generated from the sale of its PowerCo shares, marketing the district worldwide.
“The council identified economic growth as a priority several years ago, working alongside SWIFT to market the South Waikato to New Zealand and the world,” she said.
“Our focus on delivering business friendly support and guidance through our various regulatory processes aims to enhance the investor experience of dealing with our council.
“Our investments in branding, marketing and public relations helps to articulate a clear value proposition at both an investment and human level, after all companies are comprised of individuals and families who want to live in amazing communities, which we have here in the district.
“Investors and developers are taking note of all the advantages we offer – central location, solid road and rail links offering access to local, regional and global markets, alongside ultrafast fibre internet connectivity and space to grow, among many others.”
Although the council is processing the resource consent for the development Shattock declined to comment further until Olam’s formal announcement.
“We will have more to say at that time,” she said.