IRELAND – Irish global nutrition group Glanbia has won the battle over a planned €140m (US$155m) cheese production plant that was subject to a two-year long court case.
The case which finally landed in Ireland’s Supreme Court was dismissed by a 5-judge court that quashed any efforts at overturning planning permission for the project.
The court ruled that upstream consequences of the proposed factory, specifically from milk production, were not indirect significant effects liable to be assessed under the EIA (environmental impact assessment).
Mr Justice Gerard Hogan said the plant’s effect on milk supply in the State “remains entirely elusive, contingent and speculative” and cannot be the sort of significant indirect effect described in the EIA Directive.
First announced in January 2019, the plan involved a continental- cheese manufacturing facility in Belview, Co Kilkenny.
It had been hoped the new plant, to be bult in collaboration with Royal A-ware, a leading global cheese and dairy producer in The Netherlands, would be operational by last year.
However, the project has been mired in planning and legal controversy since its announcement.
Glanbia Ireland welcomed the Supreme Court decision with its Chief executive Jim Bergin saying that the company can now bring its project to fruition.
“This project is in line with Government policy and is critical to our market diversification post-Brexit,” he said.
“Getting the plant into production as soon as possible is now of huge importance to our 4,500 farm families supplying their milk to Glanbia Ireland, every day.”
With the final hurdle finally passed, Glanbia said it is now focused on getting the plant into production for the 2024 season.
2021 profits and revenues beat expectations
Earlier, Glanbia reported better than expected profits and revenues for 2021 on the back of strong global consumer demand for its products.
Profit after tax for the 12 months to the end of December rose to €167.4m (US$165.6m) from €143.8m (US$159.46m) while its revenues increased by 9.8% to €4.197bn (US$4.65bn) from €3.823 bn (US$4.24bn).
Glanbia Performance Nutrition division saw revenues rise by 14.5% to €1.303bn (US$1.44bn) from €1.138 bn (US$1.26bn) in 2020 with EBITA jumping by 59% to €145.1m from €91.2m.
Meanwhile, revenues at its Glanbia Nutritionals division rose by 7.8% to €2.894bn (US$3.21bn) from €2.685bn (US$2.98bn).
Glanbia also said that revenues at its US Cheese operations grew by 4% to €2.016bn ( US$2.24bn) from €1.938bn (US$2.15bn) in 2020.
Glanbia Managing Director Siobhán Talbot noted that the company’s strategic focus for 2022 and beyond “is to drive growth across both GPN and GN as the nutrition partner of choice to our customers and consumers.”
She however noted that the company anticipates the effects of Covid-19 to further abate in 2022, “however the ongoing impact of cost inflation, especially dairy-related, will need to continue to be actively managed as it was in 2021.”
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