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ATÉB plans Ft 1.2 billion investment at dairy

Dairy company ATÉB Kft plans to spend Ft 1.2 billion at its plant in Székesfehérvár, northwest Hungary, investing first in technological and capacity developments, then building a logistics center, business daily Napi Gazdaság reported on Thursday.

A shareholders' meeting on September 29 approved the two-phase investment as well as a capital raise to finance it. The technological and capacity developments have already started and the logistics center will be built in Q1 2007. ATÉB bought the dairy from Parmalat after its Hungarian unit went under liquidation in 2004. ATÉB was a former supplier to the dairy. Along with the purchase, ATÉB also acquired the rights to use the Parmalat brand for five years. ATÉB will soon introduce a new line of milk, sour cream and kefir under the brand "Alföldi", ATÉB managing director Tibor Mélykúti told the paper. He noted that ATÉB is trying to fill a gap in supply because of a 20%-25% fall in production during the hot summer months and a reduction in the number of milking cows caused by low farm gate prices. Exports have also contributed to the shortage on the domestic market, he added. ATÉB expects revenue of Ft 36 billion-Ft 37 billion in 2006, with the Székesfehérvár plant contributing Ft 19 billion-Ft 20 billion to this. ATÉB is one of Hungary's five biggest dairies and it is the second biggest dairy exporter.