14 Aug 2012

Miraka exceeds expectations, plans rapid growth

1:15 pm on 14 August 2012

The first Maori-owned milk powder factory is planning rapid growth after exceeding expectations in its opening year.

The Miraka plant near Taupo, which is owned by Maori farming trusts and Vietnam's biggest dairy company, Vinamilk, began producing in August last year.

It had been intended to operate it at 80% capacity but the company's chief executive, Richard Wyeth, says the plant ran so well in a bumper dairy season that it surpassed its production forecast by 10%.

Mr Wyeth says it processed 170 million litres of milk into powder bound mainly for Vietnam and China.

He says Miraka will nearly double the number of Tuwharetoa, Te Awara and non-Maori farm suppliers to 90 for the coming season and grow production by more than 30%.

Mr Wyeth says that for now Miraka is a one-site operation, but it should be able to expand and double its revenue over the next three to five years.

He says the company will not pay a dividend from its first year, but expects to be able to start repaying its investors soon.