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PepsiCo and German Dairy Firm Choose New York to Launch Yogurt Joint Venture

February 27, 2012

$206 million investment positions New York State as a global leader in yogurt production.

Source: Office of N.Y. Governor Cuomo news release

PepsiCo, the world's second largest snack and beverage company, and Theo Müller Gmbh, Germany's largest privately owned dairy business, have chosen New York as the site for their first yogurt-producing facility in the U.S., Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced today.

Through the joint venture, Wave LLC, the companies will invest $206 million and create 186 new manufacturing and support jobs to operate its state-of-the-art facility at the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park in Batavia.

“This project demonstrates that leading international companies like PepsiCo and Müller see New York as a premier place to invest and the natural choice for their first venture into the yogurt business,” Gov. Cuomo said. “With over $200 million in private investment and nearly 200 new jobs, this opportunity is another strong boost to the region's growing dairy industry.”

New York State, through Empire State Development, will provide the company with $3.3 million in Excelsior Jobs Program tax credits, as well as $1 million from NYS Homes & Community Renewal and a $10 million NYS Investment Tax Credit. Genesee County will also provide an estimated $12 million in sales and property tax savings.

Wave considered other locations both in and outside of New York State for the facility. After a thorough evaluation, including an assessment of access to dairy resources, water supply and distribution routes to key markets, the company chose the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park in Batavia. While the facility is being developed over two years, Wave may import Müller products to establish a foothold in the fast-growing U.S. yogurt business.

Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Kenneth Adams said, “New York is working hard to be a global leader in the kind of high-growth manufacturing that has critical economic development and job creating potential. Wave is a strong example of our work and the leadership of Governor Cuomo paying off in the form of new jobs and significant private investment from a leading overseas company that will have a resounding impact on the local economy.”

PepsiCo’s investment continues a strong recent trend of major yogurt producers opening manufacturing facilities in New York. The state currently has 29 yogurt plants, which employ more than 2,000 people and produced a total of 530 million pounds of yogurt in 2011—a 43% increase from 2010 and more than double 2008 levels. In 2011, Governor Cuomo announced major investments by two of the nation's largest yogurt producers, Chobani and FAGE, Inc., increasing the companies’ production capacity and creating hundreds of new jobs in New York.

New York State is the nation’s leader in the production of the wildly popular Greek-style yogurt. Producing Greek yogurt requires approximately three times the amount of milk than traditional yogurt, making the industry a major economic driver for dairy farmers across New York State. In 2011, more than 1.166 billion pounds of milk were used for yogurt production. This is comparable to the milk production of 500 average-size dairy farms in New York State (115 cows/farm).

Western New York in particular has benefited from the yogurt boom. The 15-county area of Western New York accounts for approximately 40% of the state's total milk production, with Wyoming County serving as the leading milk producing county in the State. By locating in Batavia, PepsiCo joins a number of other major yogurt manufacturers taking advantage of the region's existing infrastructure available for dairy processing including the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park.

“Location, location, location,” said New York State Agriculture Commissioner Darrel J. Aubertine. “That mantra holds true for yogurt production in New York State as we are ideally situated in an area of the country that is not only great for producing high quality milk, but is also close to numerous metropolitan markets with consumers hungry for this dairy dense product. This growing sector of the dairy industry heavily supports our hard-working family farms, creates thousands of jobs in our rural communities, and puts a healthy and locally made product on store shelves that all New Yorkers can be proud of.”

New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner/CEO Darryl C. Towns said, “Under the leadership of Governor Cuomo, New York State is thriving as the go-to state for international business ventures, growing the economy with million and billion dollar investments. We are proud to partner with ESD and Genesee County for this important job-creation project, which will help stimulate and grow the economy and community of Western NY. HCR's award of $1 million in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding will help ensure that these new jobs go to the low- and moderate-income New Yorkers most in need of work in these difficult economic times. The benefits of this project strongly reinforce Governor Cuomo's message that New York State is ‘Open for Business.’”

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