Investment set to expand production, jobs

Investing to expand scope. Photo: Supplied
Investing to expand scope. Photo: Supplied
Alliance Group's latest $1million investment in its Lorneville plant would substantially expand the scope of its production and add an estimated 40 new jobs to the plant's local roster.

The Southland-based meat co-operative was already the largest employer in Southland, with Lorneville employing about 1800 employees in peak season.

The investment follows the opening of the meat co-operative's $15.9million new venison plant at Lorneville last year, and the more recent announcement it would inject a total of $12million into sheep and lamb processing at its Dannevirke plant, adding 35 new jobs for that region in the process.

Alliance said the spending at Lorneville would go into new lines for automatic slicing, dicing and mincing of products which would be installed alongside a range of modern packaging technologies, offering the co-operative the ''flexibility to provide a range of packaging options for its global customers.''

Alliance chief executive David Surveyor said the investment reflected Alliance's commitment to maximising the operational performance of its plant network for the benefit of farmer shareholders and its people.

''A key part of our business strategy is capturing greater market value for our products so that we can pass those gains on to our farmer-shareholders and create a stronger co-operative.''

Alliance will initially target the domestic market, the United Kingdom food service sector and China for the value-add products - areas where Mr Surveyor said the company was experiencing considerable growth and where it saw ''opportunities in future''.

A significant part of its wider investment planning was into yield improvement technology, including its robotic X-ray cutter technology which has been rolled out at its Dannevirke plant, following Smithfield and Pukeuri.

The company has also rolled out Electronic Animal Status Declaration (eASDs) across its seven plants, allowing farmers to complete their eASDs online before sending their animals for processing.

The additions at Lorneville were expected to be on stream by October this year.

-By Brent Melville

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