Devenish Nutrition sees €118m investment to expand research, markets

By Aerin Einstein-Curtis

- Last updated on GMT

©GettyImages/ monsitj
©GettyImages/ monsitj
Animal nutrition research, company expansion and the construction of a new global innovation facility are among the projects Devenish Nutrition is undertaking with financial support from the EIB, says CEO.

The Belfast-based, agri-tech company announced last week that it had gained a long-term funding investment of €118m from the European Investment Bank (EIB) to support, in part, expansion efforts, and ongoing research in improving animal nutrition. It also has financial commitments from Ulster Bank and Danske Bank.

Establishing the financial support was part of the company’s ongoing efforts to meet the goals of its five-year plan and expansion priorities, said Richard Kennedy, Group CEO with Devenish Nutrition. The EIB was interested in investing in the work Devenish is doing after learning about the company’s multi-year plans.

“They were looking to invest in businesses that were focused on research, development and innovation, particularly in the agri-tech area and that’s where we started,”​ he told FeedNavigator.

The development plan included making sure that the nutrition company was a place people wanted to work and having the personnel in place to support expansion efforts, he said. “We would then want to ensure that we were making a difference so that wherever we went or were engaged we would take on the challenges on the basis of not just delivering for the business, but delivering for industry and society,”​ he added.

It also focused on exploring what the company’s obligation was, said Kennedy. “Out of that came the playbook – the aims and objectives of the playbook were to build and grow Devenish,”​ he added.

The company also had to realign some of its funding pathways and working capital to support the effort, he added.

Multi-year plan and the global innovation centre

Work on elements involved in the plan has already started as the company has been establishing relationships with potential partners and evaluating ideas for mergers or potential acquisitions, said Kennedy.

“We have an acquisition in Turkey that we delivered on last year, we’re building our business in the US and we’ll grow in Asia and in Africa – as well as in Europe,” ​he said. “But the opportunities in those markets are significant and substantial.”

Part of the company’s ongoing plan also aims to grow turnover from £100m to around £315m and add about 100 new positions by 2021, the Devenish reported.  

The investment and the company’s plan include focuses on additional research regarding the sustainability of food production by addressing the use of nutrients in animal feed, said Kennedy. Focusing on improving the efficiency of nutrient use through ongoing research and development in specific markets can allow for more of a collaboration with producers.

“What we’re focused on is the most efficient and effective utilization of nutrients in the production of meat, milk and eggs,”​ he said. “So our goal is to constantly ensure and to continuously reassess how better we can utilize nutrients in those production areas.”

The company also is applying some of the funding to developing a global innovation centre facility in Dowth, County Meath, along with capital projects and ongoing research, it reported.

Work on the company’s upcoming global innovation centre also looks to support the research progressed in different regions, said Kennedy.

“What it will do is coordinate research throughout the world,”​ he said. Research areas for the facility include additional work with omega-3 use in poultry and on soil nutrients and soil nutrition, he added.

“We will liaise and work with our technical expertise wherever we exist – US, Europe, the Middle East or Africa,” ​he said. “We will provide the information and the solutions will be built through collaboration with the global innovation centre and local people – it’s very solutions driven.”

 

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