Investments in plants and equipment burnish dairies' balance sheets
Agropur, the Canadian dairy cooperative with operations in the United States, grew its investment in machinery and equipment by 75% in the last year. The total net value of its property, plant and equipment increased 72%, the most of 12 dairy and food companies reviewed by Dairy Foods.
As part of its research of the Dairy 100 (the list will be online later this month), Dairy Foods analyzed the balance sheets of publicly held dairies and food manufacturers. We looked at holdings in land, buildings, machinery and equipment, and construction in progress. The results are shown in the accompanying table.
Agropur reported its 2014 investments totaled close to Cdn$1.4 billion. It invested Cdn$1.1 billion to acquire M. Larivée International Inc., a Quebec trader specializing in the export of dairy products and food ingredients, the Quebec cheesemaker Damafro and U.S. dairy processor Davisco. Agropur invested Cdn$7.5 million in a joint venture with Ultima Foods, and Cdn$232.8 million was invested in property, plant and equipment and intangible assets.
The co-op reported investing in a number of projects aimed to increase its plants’ production capacity: Cdn$9 million to increase the feta cheese production capacity at the Weyauwega, Wis., plant, and Cdn$29.7 million to increase production capacities at the Fine Cheese plants in Oka and Saint-Hyacinthe, Canada. A new cheese plant in Luxemburg, Wis., was commissioned in the third quarter 2014, requiring Cdn$32.5 million to complete.
A $300 million increase by WhiteWave
Colorado-based WhiteWave reported that it increased its capital investments by nearly $300 million to build greater manufacturing and distribution capacity in both Europe and North America. It uses nine manufacturing plants and three co-packers across the United States, as well as three plants in the United Kingdom, Belgium and France. In October 2014, WhiteWave completed its acquisition of the company that owns So Delicious Dairy Free for approximately $197 million. So Delicious, based in Springfield, Ore., manufactures, markets and distributes plant-based beverages, creamers, cultured products and frozen desserts.
Also last year, WhiteWave entered into a joint venture agreement with China Mengniu Dairy Co. to manufacture, market and sell a range of premium plant-based beverage products and other nutritious products in China. WhiteWave owns a 49% stake in the venture.
Glanbia invests in Ireland, USA
Ireland’s Glanbia said it made “strategic investments in capital expenditure and acquisitions” totaling €222 million. Key projects were the commissioning of a new production facility in Chicago by its Global Performance Nutrition business, significant investment in high-end whey processing in Idaho by its Global Ingredients division and the completion of a €150 million milk processing plant at Belview, County Kilkenny, Ireland. Glanbia Ingredients Ireland announced an additional €35 million capital expenditure investment to further upgrade the Belview site to produce value added ingredients for the infant formula sector.
Finally, the Group completed two acquisitions during 2014 for a total cost of €149 million: Nutramino Holding ApS, a Scandinavian sports nutrition business with operations in Denmark, Sweden and Norway, and The Isopure Co., a U.S.-based provider of premium branded sports nutrition products.