Belfast-based agri-food business Devenish Nutrition has received €118 million in long-term funding from the European Union (EU), which will be used to enhance the company’s R&D capabilities.
The refinancing deal includes a €40 million loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB) as part of the Investment Plan for Europe, adding to investments from both Ulster Bank and Danske Bank.
According to Devenish, the funding will allow the company to construct a new innovation centre in County Meath, Ireland, as well as funding research projects into optimised animal nutrition, food innovation, health and sustainability.
Devenish claims that the new innovation centre will enhance its ‘One Health from Soil to Society’ soil improvement research programme, which aims to optimise the productivity and profitability of farms.
Richard Kennedy, Group CEO of Devenish said: “This major financial boost marks a most significant milestone for Devenish as we seek to realise our vision of becoming the world’s leading provider of integrated animal, human and environmental health solutions.
“This funding will be invested in the business to build and grow our research & development and manufacturing capabilities as well as facilitate our mergers and acquisitions activity.
“We take great pride that EIB have the confidence to support not just the future of Devenish, but the future of the Irish agri-food sector overall.
“Equally, the support of both Ulster Bank and Danske Bank is crucial in enabling us to progress our future growth plans as we seek to develop Devenish’s presence in domestic and international markets and enhance our manufacturing capabilities worldwide.”
European Commissioner Phil Hogan, responsible for Agriculture, added: “The Irish agri-business sector contributes enormously to the Irish economy and particularly to the rural economy.
“There are huge opportunities for companies like Devenish who have a vision for the future, but they are operating in a highly competitive environment, where investment, particularly in research and innovation, is essential to maintain a competitive edge.
“Today’s announcement by the EIB under the Investment Plan for Europe is very welcome, coming at a time of some uncertainty for the Irish agri-business sector. It is a strong statement of confidence in the resilience of the sector and its capacity to grow and reach its full potential.
“The EIB’s investment is an obvious statement of confidence in Devenish’s ambition, but it is also a very tangible vote of confidence in Irish agri-business and its potential to benefit from new and emerging global opportunities, particularly given the important emphasis that Devenish places on sustainability.”