Nestlé opens P700-M ice cream factory in Bulacan

By Jessica Anne D. Hermosa, BusinessWorld

Posted at Apr 06 2010 07:41 AM | Updated as of Apr 06 2010 03:44 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Nestlé Philippines, Inc. expects improved efficiency for its ice cream business after shifting production to a Bulacan factory from its old site in Quezon City, the company said in a statement yesterday.

The local arm of the Swiss food giant inaugurated its new P700-million chilled dairy factory in Pulilan, Bulacan last month after closing the old plant on Aurora Boulevard in Quezon City in September 2009.

The decision to move was prompted by the expiry of the old plant’s lease and also by considerations on long-term efficiencies, Nestlé Philippines said without elaborating.

It did not disclose other details on the plant, such as production capacities.

“The goal for the new factory is to make it the benchmark facility for delivering world-class performance in the production of ice cream and chilled dairy,” it said.

Workers at the Quezon City ice cream plant were reportedly provided assistance packages as not all could be transferred to the Bulacan site.

Over 200 workers are manning the new 4.5-hectare Bulacan plant, the company said. The Aurora factory had occupied 5.25 hectares.

The food company boasted of the new ice cream factory’s “speedy completion” as construction and the management of inventories were accomplished in just 14 months.

Aside from its ice cream factory, Nestlé Philippines operates a sugar confectionery in Marikina, and Southeast Asian supply centers for infant food, milk powder, coffee and chocolate mixes in Laguna, Cagayan de Oro and Batangas according to its Web site.

The Aurora Boulevard lot was leased by Nestlé Philippines from San Miguel Corp. after the latter’s exit from an ice cream joint venture in 1998. Nestlé Philippines then took over the manufacturing plant which used to churn out Magnolia ice cream.

San Miguel has since re-entered the ice cream market, relaunching Magnolia in 2004 to challenge Nestlé Philippines and market leader Selecta. Selecta is owned by a joint venture between RFM Corp. and Unilever Philippines, Unilever RFM Ice Cream, Inc.

In December 2008, San Miguel Properties, Inc. sold the lot to Gokongwei-led property developer Robinsons Land Corp., which plans to build a condominium called the “Magnolia Residences” and a shopping mall.

San Miguel Properties did not disclose the sale price.

Last year, San Miguel’s Magnolia, which had a toll manufacturing deal with Nestlé Philippines, bared plans to open its own ice cream plant in Sta. Rosa, Laguna by the middle of this year.

The new Magnolia ice cream plant will cost P350 million and will have a capacity of five million gallons a year.