Lakeland looks to Middle East and Asia for growth
Dairy giant Lakeland has said over 140 customers from the Middle East and Asia have visited its facilities in Northern Ireland in recent months.
And in a new year message to its farmers, the Cavan-based company said that is confident of more success in the markets over the year.
The business announced a merger with Monaghan-based Lacpatrick earlier this year, which will give it a total farmer base of around 1,300 in Northern Ireland.
Lakeland facilities in Northern Ireland include a processing site in Newtownards.
Chief executive Michael Hanley said: "Lakeland Dairies is continuing to work competitively and successfully to underpin the future of dairying throughout Northern Ireland. The investments made over the past decade have enhanced our capability and our efficiency where we are adding value to milk across the 240 different dairy products that we are exporting to over 80 countries worldwide."
Despite the ongoing uncertainty posed by Brexit, Mr Hanley said that markets and dairying conditions tend to be volatile on a cyclical basis. He added that trading conditions remained broadly positive during the year with a softening of the markets apparent in recent months due to increased global dairy production.
The chief executive said that the Lacpatrick merger will serve to strengthen its UK market access in the context of Brexit.
"This has been a historic and momentous year," he said. "Lakeland Dairies is a farmer owned and farmer controlled co-operative where the business is designed and built to create economic advantage for milk producers and shareholders.
"Our strategic priority will always be to achieve sustainable profitable dairy farming. We will therefore continue to drive competitiveness and overall growth as a constantly efficient and high performance business."