The Irish Dairy Board has announced a €20m investment in Saudi Arabia.

The investment includes the acquisition of a 75% interest in a dairy importer, sales and distribution business, Al Wazeen Trading.

It also includes the development of a new state-of-the-art cheese manufacturing plant at the company's facility in Riyadh.

The board said the investment will further strengthen its position in the Saudi Arabian market, the fifth largest dairy importer in the world.

It will provide a central hub to access the important dairy growth markets in the MENA region.

Today's announcement was made by Irish Dairy Board Chief Executive Kevin Lane during the Irish Trade Mission to Saudi Arabia, led by Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney.

The new facility in Riyadh will use dairy ingredients to produce a range of fresh white cheeses that appeal to local market tastes.

The cheeses will be made using a pioneering technology developed by the IDB and Teagasc. Fresh white cheese is hugely popular in the Middle East.

This investment is a key part in the IDB's strategy to grow routes to market and added value for Irish dairy produce in the run up to the abolition of milk quotas in 2015.