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Dairy co-op braced for Brexit with its new £30m centre in Co Tyrone

By Colm Kelpie

LacPatrick is ready to meet the challenges of a hard Brexit, its boss Gabriel D'Arcy has said, as the dairy co-operative unveiled a new £30m operation in Co Tyrone.

The new facility will allow the company - which collects milk from around 1,100 farmers in Ulster - to process milk on both sides of the border.

It's also recruited another 20 staff, bringing the workforce in Artigarvan to 70.

But Mr D'Arcy said the company is not yet "Brexit -proofed". "We're ready to meet the challenges of Brexit. If you look at the full extremities of the potential outcome here, you'd be a brave person in any environment to say that you were Brexit-proofed."

Mr D'Arcy said that whether the UK remains in the customs union or not, Brexit will have a "massive impact".

"We can deal with the scenario if they're out of the customs union on March 2019," he added. "We'd prefer if they weren't, but we're ready to deal with that on the most primal side."

LacPatrick yesterday unveiled a technology centre in Artigarvan which will make advanced dairy ingredients for markets in Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia.

Mr D'Arcy added: "We now have the ability for the first time ever to process all of the milk that we collect in Northern Ireland, and vice versa in the Republic. So that is a huge risk mitigation in advance of whatever agreement will ensue."

In May Mr D'Arcy said LacPatrick had seen a 25% surge in its sales into the British market in the wake of Brexit, due to its presence in Northern Ireland. He said that is continuing.

Belfast Telegraph

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