The Irish Dairy Board is to officially open a new $12m cheese-making facility in Wisconson in the US later today. The plant is part of its Thiel Cheese & Ingredients operations there. The Dairy Board says the new facility will boost its manufacturing capacity in America by 40% - and will also provide a strong route to market for Irish dairy producers.

The Irish Dairy Board's chief executive Kevin Lane says the latest investment in the Wisconson plant marks the completion of an $80m expansion plan in its US food ingredients business. The IDB has been supplying ingredients to the US market for the last 20 years and the company needed to scale up its business to meet demand. The new plant will increase its US food ingredient production capacity by 40%, Mr Lane says.

The IDB CEO says the US expansion programme gives the company greater capacity in the cheese ingredients sector and is in line with its growth strategy. He says it provides an important route to market for Irish casein, adding that it also opens up more opportunities for Irish dairy products, including its key Kerrygold brand. Mr Lane says the US expansion creates great value for the company which it can reinvest back in its core Irish dairy markets.

MORNING BRIEFS - Five Irish companies have made announcements this morning as part of the country's ongoing trade mission to China. Keelings Solutions, owned by fresh produce supplier Keelings Group, has struck a deal with Bright Food Corporation which will see its software system deployed by the Chinese firm. Galway-based medical technology company ArraVasc has signed an agreement with a distribution company, which it says should lead to the creation of at least 20 jobs over the next two to three years. E-commerce firm Clavis Insight and lab software company Ocuco have announced plans to open offices in China later this month. Meanwhile, life sciences company Zenith has entered a partnership with the Chinese division of ABB, which will help its pharmaceutical clients develop manufacturing facilities that meet the country's regulatory regime.

*** Adidas expects to remain the biggest brand in soccer this year, thanks to its involvement in the World Cup and sponsorship of a number of leading figures in the sport. The company's chief executive Herbert Hainer said Adidas would reach its target of €2 billion of soccer sales in 2014, to stay ahead of rival Nike's estimated €1.5 billion. Adidas is the world's second biggest sports brand and has long been associated with soccer - It has supplied the match ball for the world cup since 1970, but has come under increasing pressure from rival Nike in recent years, which has kit out ten of the 32 finalists in this year's tournament, including hosts Brazil.