8 Nov 2011

Synlait scores baby formula export to China

7:26 am on 8 November 2011

Canterbury dairy company Synlait has tapped into the global demand for infant formula, with its first commercial-sized shipment destined for China in December.

The company is in partnership with China's third biggest dairy producer Bright Dairy, which in 2010 invested more than $80 million in Synlait's processing plant at Dunsandel.

The investment was used to set up a $100 million infant formula processing plant which has been in operation at Dunsandel since September.

It has the capacity to produce 40,000 to 50,000 tonnes of infant formula a year.

Synlait chief executive John Penno says 200 tonnes of infant formula is ready to be shipped to China and that is a very significant milestone for the company after years of planning.

He says New Zealand is in the right part of the world with huge demand for infant forumla products coming from Asia, attracted by the country's reputation for quality products.

Dr Penno says Synlait has the added advantage of having a world-class plant and world-class people.

He says the aim is for the infant forumla plant to reach capacity in three years, exporting product to 10 countries.

The company is in its fourth season of processing a range of milk powders for export, and now has the capacity to process about 0.5 billion litres of milk supplied by 140 dairy farms in the Canterbury region.