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Upgrade For PPCS Lamb Processing Facility

$1 Million Upgrade For PPCS Waitane Lamb Processing Facility

PPCS is to invest in excess of $1 million next year at its Waitane lamb processing facility near Gore as part of its strategy to align plant capacity to the national livestock profile and global trends in consumer demand.

Chief Executive Officer Keith Cooper said that the significant investment would upgrade and expand the Southland facility’s capacity for chilled lamb production.

“There is an increasing consumer preference for chilled rather than frozen lamb in our key export markets. In response to consumer demand, PPCS has a strategy to increase its premium chilled business by 7.5 percent in the year ending August 2008.

“The planned developments at Waitane will upgrade its capacity to process chilled lamb for export by sea freight, primarily to the United Kingdom, France and North America. The transport of chilled lamb production by sea freight involves a very low carbon footprint.

“Increased chilled lamb production will not only enable PPCS to meet increased consumer demand but also maximise opportunities to supply the North American market via the New Zealand Lamb Companies - the joint marketing consortium to which PPCS has now committed all its North American lamb supply.

“Our plans for Waitane reflect the commitment PPCS has to serving the Southland and South Otago area and the overall strategic importance of Waitane as a plant in the region.

“The upgrade will include alterations to carcass chillers, the boning room, carton chillers and support facilities. Work is expected to be carried out next winter in time for the start of next processing season in October/November 2008,” he said.

Mr Cooper said that smaller, modern facilities are likely to be the way of the future. “Given the projected decline in sheep numbers nationally including an expected drop of three million sheep over three years in Southland alone, we see an important role for smaller processing facilities like Waitane.

“Smaller plants enjoy greater operating flexibility without the high overheads of megaplants which require very high throughputs to be efficient. Too often, the highthroughput model drives procurement prices based on low-cost processing options - rather than focusing on marketing premium products to identified customer specifications,” he said.

Last financial year, PPCS made capital expenditure of $27 million and ongoing plant maintenance expenditure of $45 million across its 25 processing facilities nationwide.

“These investments, combined with the company’s ongoing investment in advanced lamb processing technologies, enhance the quality and efficiency of the company’s processing capability both now and into the future,” said Mr Cooper.

PPCS’ Waitane facility processes lamb, mutton and bobby calves and employs nearly 300 staff at the peak of the season.

ENDS

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