Avonmore Creameries in County Kilkenny celebrates a milestone birthday but the company is looking to the future.

In 1967, the Avonmore Creameries Limited Federation was formed between thirty-six cooperative societies and a new milk processing facility was established at Ballyragget, County Kilkenny.  Entry to the European Economic Community (EEC) forced the establishment of one big unified company, which formed the basis of Avonmore Creameries.

Processing commenced at Ballyragget in 1968 and Avonmore is now the largest milk processor, the largest animal feed manufacturer and assembler of grain in Ireland.

Avonmore employs almost  1,700 people on a full or part time basis and the company's turnover is £256.5 million which results in a profit of £6.5 million.

To formally mark Avonmore’s coming of age, Minister for Agriculture  Michael O'Kennedy unveiled a marble plaque symbolising the earth, trees and sun. During his speech he noted that we have learned to live with the quota system, so the objective now is to reap the maximum value from a limited pool of raw material.

Group Managing Director of Avonmore Pat O'Neill  says the company will continue to invest in bringing new products on stream and to develop export markets for high value-added products.

Whey in the most part is sold for animal feeding but he foresees this will be a part of human food applications and

We will have substantial investment in this area in the years ahead.

Planners are putting last minute touches to a share float by the company to raise £5 million, limited to present share holders and staff but the next move will be on the stock exchange. The equity capital raised will be used to help finance the development and expansion of the group's business.

The principle rationale in going public is to create funds to diversify the product base we've got from our existing raw materials of milk and grain.

Over the next decade Pat O'Neill believes continued success will come from,

A wider product base, strong emphasis on marketing and branding, product development and assets on the ground in the marketplace to underpin the marketing effort.

An RTÉ News repor broadcast on 31 May 1988. The reporter is Michael Ryan.