The investment from Finance Wales will help the North Wales dairy modernise its production facilities and increase its first phase capacity from 9,500 to 11,500t a year. The dairy planned to continue the development of its own Dragon premium cheese brand, which is sold in supermarkets across the UK.
Employing about 90 staff, the firm sources more than 90M litres of milk each year from local suppliers for processing at its Pwllheli site.
South Caernarfon Creameries’ md Alan Jones said upgrading the site was key to the future of the business.
‘Develop other market opportunities’
“We reviewed our business model in 2010 and decided to focus on the development of our core products of Welsh cheese and butter,” said Jones. “This investment to develop our facilities is required to further grow the brand as well as to enable us to develop other market opportunities.”
The Finance Wales’ loan will help fund the initial development phase, he added. “The new development will provide us with a very efficient and flexible production facility which will further support our long-term growth plan.”
The £20M Wales Capital Growth Fund was established by the Welsh government in response to demand from Welsh small and medium-sized enterprises for short term working capital, said government economy minister Edwina Hart.
‘Increase annual sales of the food and drink industry’
“The expansion will not only support the farming community in the region but will also help support the Welsh government’s aim to increase annual sales of the food and drink industry by 30% by 2020,” she added.
Finance Wales investment executive, Rhodri Evans – who structured the loan from the Wales Capital Growth Fund – highlighted the dairy’s contribution to the local economy. “Alan and his team have transformed South Caernarfon Creameries since 2010 and this investment provides them with the funding to continue this transformation,” said Evans.
“Expanding cheese production is a major development for the company and welcome news for the local economy. Finance Wales has come up with a short-term capital bridge-funding package to get the project underway.”
South Caernarfon Creameries started operations at Pwllheli in 1937.