The construction of the new whey protein factory in Argentina is nearing completion. The project is the result of a partnership between the Argentinian dairy group, SanCor, and Arla Foods Ingredients South America (AFISA).
“We expect the contractor, SADE Skanska, to vacate the site on January 18. Although there have been some problems with SADE’s sub-contractors – largely because of the economic problems which have hit many Argentinian companies, the final phase of the project has gone well,” says Finn Simonsen, AFISA’s Factory Director. “Some problems were caused by late deliveries, but SADE has generally managed to take the appropriate action.”
APV Pasilac started assembling the factory’s machines in early August and the terminal and pipe corridor as well as the purification plant are now almost complete. The silo tank has been supplied. The spray tower room is largely assembled, but other, extensive tasks in the area remain. The mechanical assembly of powder silos, blending plants etc has also begun. AFISA is currently recruiting more staff to bring staff levels up from eight to 25.
The factory will be commissioned in mid-January, when a 16-man strong team from Pasilac starts trial production. Barring unforeseen events the first whey will arrive at the plant on April 1, 2002. Proper production will commence in mid-May.
“Work pressure on the few Arla Foods’ staff is huge,” says Finn Simonsen. “Everything starts from scratch so the future operators of the plant have numerous jobs to do, including learning to handle production machinery and production processes as well as finding and buying a massive number of components.”
Arla Foods and SanCor, are investing 50% of the venture’s capital while a consortium comprising the German Rabobank, the German Investment Bank DEG, the Danish Export Credit Fund and the Investment Fund for Developing Countries are providing the remaining 50%.
The current financial unrest does not appear to be having any impact on the construction of the factory.
“The project is proceeding on schedule, although, of course we’re monitoring the situation very closely,” says Executive Director Peter Lauritzen.