Chinese infant formula producer Synutra will make its first foray abroad with a 100 million euro tie-up with Sodiaal to build a dried milk plant, the French dairy company said Tuesday.
"In order to meet the increasingly large needs of the Chinese market, Synutra, the number three infant formula maker in China, wants to secure raw material sources," said in a statement Sodiaal, France's top dairy cooperative that holds a minority stake in the Yoplait brand.
"For its first investment outside of China, Synutra chose Brittany where Sodiaal can guarantee it sizable volumes of high-quality milk and demineralised whey" which is a key ingredient in baby formula, it added.
The project is for the construction of two milk drying units in France's western Brittany region, with production scheduled to begin in 2015.
Synutra will cover 90 percent of the investment and Sodiaal the remaining 10 percent in the facility which will be capable of processing 280 million litres of milk and 30,000 tonnes of whey per year, a company official said.
The facility will employ some 100 people currently employed at a Sodiaal unit that is due to close at the beginning of 2015.
Sodiaal is Europe's fourth largest cooperative dairy, with its Euroserum unit a leading producer of demineralised whey for infant formula.