Waterford County Museum, Dungarvan, Co. Waterford, Ireland. Charity Reg: 17397
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Waterford Foods
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Dungarvan Creamery

5. Waterford Foods
With expansion into adjacent areas no longer possible, Waterford Co-op embarked on a further phase of expansion in other parts of Ireland and overseas in the late 1980s and early 1990s.  This included Premier Dairies in Dublin, Virginia Milk Products in Cavan, a cheese factory in Armagh and substantial dairy operations in Britain and the USA.  In moving overseas, once again Waterford Co-op beat a pioneering path which the other major dairy groups subsequently followed.  In order to help finance these expansions, a new corporate structure was created whereby Waterford Co-op became a holding company with an operating subsidiary – Waterford Foods – which was given a remit to raise capital by issuing shares on the stock market.  Eventually private shareholders owned one third of the company's equity.

Waterford Foods was now a substantial multinational company with almost 5,000 employees, two thirds of whom were located abroad, and a turnover which exceeded the £1 billion mark in 1996.  Having the headquarters of such a large firm located in Dungarvan was a major boost to the town.  Of the 500 people employed directly by the company there, 200 were engaged in managerial, administrative, professional, and scientific functions, thus providing a broader employment profile than would normally be found in a town of this size.  In addition, there were many spin-offs to local businesses in such areas as legal, financial and technical services, office supplies, transport and restaurants.
 

Author: Proinnsias Breathnach

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