Lactalis completes modernization works at French facility with installation of US$51m whey drying tower

FRANCE – French multinational dairy products corporation, Lactalis has completed modernization work at its Verdun factory in northeast France with the inauguration of a new €45m ($50.9m) whey-drying tower.  

The new tower is equipped with the latest drying technologies to allow for the production of 30,000T of whey powder for the food industry.  

It produces high fluidity sweet whey powder marketed under the Flowhey brand and is manufactured through a technology designed by Lactalis Ingredients to optimize the drying of the whey.  

With the commissioning of the new tower, The Verdun plant, which employs 140 people, now has an overall production capacity of 75,000 tons of whey products per year. 

The composition of the whey (80% lactose, 11% protein), coupled with innovative technology, will allow Lactalis Ingredients to sell more whey powder for human nutrition and develop international sales.  

Its Flowhey technology aims to optimize the lactose crystallization contained in the whey in order to avoid unstable forms that are more hygroscopic and riskier to cake.  

In 2022, environmental efforts at the Lactalis Verdun site will see the installation of charging stations for electric cars for staff and an electric bicycle charging station powered by photovoltaic panels.  

In collaboration with the Bordeaux company NewHeat, the largest solar thermal powerplant for industrial use in Europe is going to be built next to the Verdun site in 2022. 

 The hot water produced will reduce the site’s gas consumption by 10% resulting in an overall reduction of CO2 by 2,000T per year.  

Ornua secures funding for operations 

Meanwhile, Irish agri-food cooperative Ornua has secured a new five-year syndicated bank facility of €580m (US$653m), replacing its existing 2017 facility.  

According to a statement from the cooperative, the new facility will extend to December 2026 and incorporates sustainability key performance indicators that address emissions, waste, and diversity targets.  

The refinanced facility comprises a €200m ($225m) committed syndicated revolving credit facility (RCF) to fund Ornua’s working capital requirements and its global growth strategy via strategic capital investment and acquisition. 

It also features a €380m ($428m) committed syndicated reverse invoice discounting facility (RID) to fund the working capital requirements of Ornua’s member suppliers, Ireland’s dairy processors. 

 In addition, a further €100m ($112.6m) is available, if required over the five-year period, under the facility (€50m/$56.3m under the RCF and €50m under the RID), by way of an uncommitted tranche of funding.

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