Lamb Weston Holdings on July 22 announced plans to expand frozen french fry processing capacity at its facility in American Falls, Idaho, while also declaring a quarterly dividend.
“We continue to be confident about the long-term health and growth of the global french fry market,” said Tom Werner, president and chief executive officer of the Eagle, Idaho, USA-headquartered company. “This investment in American Falls complements our recently announced plans to construct a greenfield french fry processing facility in China, as well as capacity expansion in Russia by our European joint venture, Lamb Weston/Meijer (LWM). Together, these investments will strengthen our global manufacturing network, and provide us added flexibility to meet demand growth and serve our customers around the world.”
Construction of a new french fry processing line at Lamb Weston’s existing facility in American Falls will boost capacity to over 350 million pounds of frozen french fries and other potato products per year. The new line is expected to be completed by mid-2023, and will add approximately 130 new jobs. The total investment is likely to be approximately $415 million, and will include additional modernization of the existing facility, which was built in 1961.
In Russia, LWM has signed an investment agreement with the governor of the Lipetsk region, Igor Artamonov, to more than double the production capacity of its existing plant in the Special Economic Zone of Lipetsk. The investment amounts to more than 13 billion rubles (€145 million) and will generate 250 additional jobs in the area when up an running in early 2023.
“This is great news for the Lipetsk region as it will create jobs and support the development of local farmers and the entire community,” said Artamonov.
The new line will be primarily focused to serve the growing Russian and CIS markets. All potatoes will be sourced from local farmers with full agronomic support from the company.
Marc Schroeder, chief executive officer of Lamb Weston Meijer, which is the majority shareholder of LWM RUS, stated: “The french fry market is growing globally and Russia is a very important market for us. This investment of in-country production shows our commitment to our strategic customers and supporting their growth plans in the future”.
Dividend to be Paid in September
Meanwhile, the Lamb Weston Holdings board of directors declared a quarterly dividend of $0.235 per share of Lamb Weston common stock, payable on September 3, 2021, to stockholders of record as of the close of business on August 6, 2021.