1 September 2000

Amelca looks to build factory in Derbyshire

AMELCA, the farmer-owned milk business specialising in GM-free milk, will build its factory on a 10-acre site at Hilton, Derbyshire.

Located near the junction of the A50 and A38 main trunk roads, the site has been purchased from the Ministry of Defence. Planning permission is expected shortly.

"The land is right in the centre of our 25-mile radius milk field, and has ample space for the plant, vehicle handling and car parking," said chairman George White.

Interest in the plant has been keen since plans were first announced about a year ago. "Over 500 farmers have attended meetings, and there has also been considerable interest from businesses both within and outside the industry who see amelca as a good financial investment," says a spokesman.

"The group is looking at a target share growth of 25%/year, and with a proposed dividend of 10% after tax, it is something to invest in for the future. Investment benefits for producers add up to about 3p/litre, which includes a premium of 1-1.25p/l on top of the normal guaranteed 1p."

The plant plans to process over 200m litres of milk a year and is recruiting 150 top producers in the area. Turnover is expected to be £72m a year.

Prospectuses will be available later in September and production is expected to start in October 2001.

Meanwhile, United Milk says that just under 450 farmers, including 100 new members, signed up to the companys share offer by the final Aug 23 deadline.

That raised more than £10m towards the proposed 800m litre a year butter/milk powder factory at Westbury, Wilts. Total build cost has been revised down to about £50m by reducing costs in several areas, says chief executive Don Morris. That means £5-6m must be found from other sources to secure conditional funding of £35m from the Bank of Scotland.

"I am extremely confident that we shall plug the gap, and we expect the whole thing to be put to bed by the end of this month." &#42