August, 24, 2005 (Malvern, PA) – On June 29th, during a tour through the south of Chile, President Ricardo Lagos visited the construction site of ORAFTI’s new processing plant. Located in 180 hectares green field in San Pedro, next to Pemuco, in the Bio Bio Region, 400 km to the south of Santiago, this factory is the most significant recent investment of ORAFTI, to the value of 165 million Euros. ORAFTI Group is building this factory to produce the natural food ingredients Raftiline® (inulin) and Raftilose® (oligofructose) from the chicory root in order to respond to the growing worldwide demand for these healthy food ingredients. They are widely used in the food industry because of their exceptional nutritional and technologic advantages.
During his visit, the President commented on the importance of this investment for the country’s economical development, particularly for the Bio Bio region. He also spoke of the significance this new plant will have on the development of agriculture and the industry related to functional food ingredients in Chile. Lagos was received by Sylvie Altman, Agronomic Director of ORAFTI Chile, who highlighted the good working environment existing in the country for the development of the industrial farming of chicory to obtain inulin and oligofructose.
President Lagos thanked ORAFTI for its confidence to invest in the country and stated that this project shows “the seriousness of Chile towards foreign investment, and the advantages of the free trade agreements Chile has subscribed”.
The construction is proceeding according to plan and the first production campaign is scheduled for the first half of 2006. During the construction phase, ORAFTI will employ over 1,000 workers and from 2006 onwards, during regular operation, 250 people will work permanently at the factory.
About ORAFTI Group
ORAFTI Group, world market leader for prebiotic ingredients, is a subsidiary of the Belgian agro-food group Raffinerie Tirlemontoise/Tiense Suikerraffinaderij, part of the Südzucker Group. ORAFTI Group produces Raftiline® (inulin) and Raftilose® (oligofructose), as well as Raftisweet® (fructose syrups), from chicory roots. ORAFTI Group's head office is in Tienen, Belgium and the company operates in more than 70 countries, with production units in Oreye (Belgium), Wijchen (Netherlands) and Wijgmaal (Belgium). The ORAFTI Group also includes REMY INDUSTRIES, world leading producer of rice starches (Remyline®/Remygel®), rice flours (Remyflo®) and rice proteins (Remypro®).