Beston Global Foods Ltd has received a $2 million grant through the South Australian Government’s Regional Growth Fund. The company will use the money to expand its lactoferrin plant in Jervois, South Australia.
Beston has been implementing a two-stage expansion of the plant. In June 2020, funds were raised through an equity placement with institutional shareholders to increase its lactoferrin production capacity from three million tonnes to 12 million tonnes per annum. It is due for completion by the end of February 2021, with production to start in March 2021.
Stage two, with the grant funding, will increase production capacity to more than 20 million tonnes a year.
Beston CEO Jonathan Hicks said the grant would see more employment at the factory and significant flow-on benefits in the Murraylands region.
“The further expansion of our lactoferrin plant will put South Australia squarely at the centre of efforts to increase nutraceutical and pharmaceutical manufacturing capabilities in Australia and will enhance the bio-security of the nation.
The expansion of Jervois has been to add value to the facility. Lactoferrin will be extracted from all incoming milk, ensuring increased revenue and return for every litre processed, the company said. It would also enhance employment opportunities and security for the company’s employees, while growing milk volumes from South Australian dairy farmers. Beston processes more than 25 per cent of South Australia’s milk pool, it said.
“The expansion will also bring significant benefits to the state’s dairy industry as we continue to increase our demand for milk for processing into high value lactoferrin along with our mozzarella and cheese products,” Hicks added.
Beston said: “The plant has important benefits in increasing Australia’s self-sufficiency in production of immune-boosting lactoferrin and will have significant flow-on benefits to South Australia's dairy farmers as milk throughput at Jervois increases.
“The increased production will capture around five per cent of the growing global market of lactoferrin.”
Lactoferrin is an iron-binding glycoprotein, known to be essential in boosting the immune system. It has anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-parasitic and anti-allergic functions and properties. “The clinical significance of lactoferrin has been established in numerous medical and scientific studies over the past 40 years,” the company said. In Europe and China, lactoferrin costs around $1500 per kilogram.
There are currently clinical trials underway to determine the efficacy of lactoferrin in treatment of COVID-19.
Beston won World's Best Functional Drink Award for its Biolactive Immune+ Anti-Viral drink, formulated with lactoferrin produced at the Jervois facility.
The company has also announced the appointment of Frank Baldi as general manager operations and supply chain. It said Baldi had significant expertise with lactoferrin having worked in senior roles at Freedom Foods and Bega Cheese.