Growth is ahead of schedule for wheat-based ingredients supplier MGP Ingredients with the Kansas-based company moving expansion of its textured wheat proteins to phase two as demand for their speciality ingredients continues to gain force.
One of three operations belonging to the company, expansion of the facility - acquired from Thompson's Nutritional Technology by MGPI in early 2001 - in Kansas City has involved the installation of additional equipment to facilitate growth of the company's line of Wheatex textured wheat proteins and its Polytriticum line of wheat protein- and starch-based resins.
A US Department of Agriculture programme to support the development and production of value-added wheat proteins and starches will pay for about half of the cost. The company has received $25.6 (€21.7) million from the program since its inception in June 2001.
"This project is indicative of the progress we are making in building our speciality ingredients business," said Ladd Seaberg, president and chief executive officer. "The decision to expand was made totally on the basis of increased customer demand, which has grown at a more accelerated rate than expected and is extremely encouraging considering that we have owned and operated the facility for only a little over two-and-one-half years."
The expansion of the Kansas City facility follows hot on the heels of a $8.3 million face-lift to the company's Atchison, Kansas plant completed last November that involved additional processing and drying equipment for the production of speciality wheat proteins for bakery, pasta and noodle and related food markets, both domestic and foreign.
In August this year MGP Ingredients blamed increased energy costs and grain prices for its fourth-quarter loss of $1.37 million, or 18 cents a share, compared with earnings of $555,000, or 7 cents a share, for the previous year. But sales for the quarter rose, totalling $52.5 million, up 4 per cent from $50.4 million a year ago.