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nestle's new plant in silao The new plant in Silao, Guanajuato.

Nestlé’s new factory is its 15th in Mexico

The new facility in Silao will double the firm's pet food capacity

The food giant Nestlé opened its 15th manufacturing plant in Mexico with an inauguration ceremony yesterday, and there’s more investment to come, promised the firm’s Mexico CEO, Marcelo Melchior.

The US $220-million Purina factory in Silao, Guanajuato, employing 200 people directly and another 1,000 indirectly, will produce 130,000 tonnes of dry pet food annually, doubling Nestlé’s capacity. But a second, future phase could add a new production line for wet food.

That expansion will almost double the plant’s capacity, said Melchior in an interview with El Universal.

Forty per cent of its current output will be exported to Central America and the Caribbean.

Melchior predicted the new facility will allow Nestlé to overtake its main competitor, Mars México, which has 40% of the market compared to Nestlé’s 20%. It’s a market worth 32.27 billion pesos a year, according to Euromonitor International.

Melchior said more Mexicans are deciding it’s better to give their pets food that is made specifically for them rather than leftovers.

As for 2016, the CEO said he believes Mexico is well positioned to withstand the global challenges of low oil prices and economic uncertainty.

Nestlé will open its 16th plant towards the end of next year when it finishes building a new factory to produce infant formula in Ocotlán, Jalisco, an investment of $350 million.

That amount, and the expenditure on the new plant in Silao, are part of the Swiss company’s billon-dollar investment plan for Mexico between 2014 and 2018.

During yesterday’s ceremony, President Enrique Peña Nieto expressed gratitude for the company’s confidence in Mexico, and observed that the country’s food industry is growing at an annual rate of 7%, growth that is expected to continue.

Food sector exports totaled more than $20 billion in the first nine months of the year, the president said.

The head of Nestlé’s Americas operations, Laurent Freixe, said Mexico is the world’s fourth largest producer of pet food after China, the U.S. and Brazil.

According to one estimate, there are more than 25 million pets in Mexico but the report didn’t specify whether street dogs were included.

Source: El Universal (sp), Mundo Ejecutivo (sp), EFE (en)

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