[20 November/Stuff]

Synlait has a new $55 million blending and packaging plant up and running in Auckland. The new plant put Synlait in a good position to sell increased amounts of infant formula and other products to China. Chief Executive John Penno said the plant gave Canterbury-based Synlait a total canning capacity of 64,000 tonnes. This is more than double their previous capacity of 32,000 tonnes produced out of Dunsandel, which is currently operating at full capacity. The new plant currently employs 30 staff, but Mr Penno expects this to rise to 100 next year. There are now 13 New Zealand-based manufacturers registered to export infant formula to China, with predictions the value of exports will soon top the $1 billion a year mark.