17 million investment in Valio Oltermanni® cheese production completed

Valio Oltermanni® cheese is manufactured at Valio’s Haapavesi plant in central Finland, where annual capacity has increased by around 5 million kilos as a result of a 17 million euro investment programme. Completed on 9th June 2012, the programme also includes a cheese maturation unit at the Lappeenranta terminal.

The expansion of the Haapavesi plant has enabled Valio to respond more effectively to the growing demand for Valio Oltermanni® cheese in Finland, and especially in Russia which imports more than half of the production. The new maturation unit built in Lappeenranta is able to handle the annual increase of 5 million kilos produced at the Haapavesi plant. A quarter of Valio exports to Russia is transported via Lappeenranta.

The Haapavesi plant now has an improved Valio Oltermanni® cheese production line, a new raw milk reception point, and enhanced processing of waste water generated by the plant. The investment will raise production capacity to around 30 million kilos per year, due in particular to new, more efficient cheese dosing equipment and the new salting unit. The dosing equipment is in itself responsible for 35 per cent of the increase in production line capacity.

The new dosing equipment and salting unit enable increased cheese production volume and deliver tastier cheese of more uniform quality. A third raw milk reception point was built at Haapavesi for the higher raw milk volume required to increase cheese production capacity.

A new equalising basin for waste water was completed at the Haapavesi plant at the turn of the year. The waste water flow from the plant can be equalised and real-time measurement of its volume and content is being developed.

The popularity of Valio Oltermanni® cheese continues to grow both in Finland and Russia

Valio Oltermanni® is the best-selling cheese brand in Finland where sales volume grew by 10 per cent in 2011.

Meanwhile demand for the cheese in Russia has increased by 50 per cent since 2009 and the sales volume already exceeds that in Finland. Cheese markets in Russia and the CIS countries are expected to grow overall by 2–3 times their current size. Valio Oltermanni® cheese has been exported to Russia since 1995 and is associated there with Finnish origin and high quality.

“Valio Oltermanni® is one of Valio’s strategically important brands, and this investment allows us to continue growing in Finland and especially in Russia,” says Karl-Magnus Lindfors, Vice President, Cheese at Valio.

The investment will increase the raw milk volume used by the Valio Haapavesi plant by around 50 million litres, putting the total volume of milk taken in up to 300 million litres per year. The raw milk is collected within an average distance of 90 kilometres from the plant and produced by around 900 dairy farms. Milk is the most important agricultural product in the province of Northern Ostrobothnia.

Further information:

Karl-Magnus Lindfors, Vice President, Cheese, Valio Ltd, tel. +358 50 384 1026
Jaana Hiitola, Process Co-ordinator at Valio Haapavesi plant, Valio Ltd, tel. +358 50 384 0028