Muntons, the Suffolk-based maltster and malted ingredients company, has opened its first plant outside the UK.

The new £12.16m vacuum band drying plant in Thailand is Muntons’ first non-UK plant. Although the company has sales and representative offices in overseas markets, this is its first step into manufacturing abroad.

The new state-of-the-art band drying facility is a joint venture in conjunction with the company’s south-east Asian partner Jebsen & Jessen Ingredients, which has an extensive distribution network stretching across the region.

The first shipment of malt extract made at Muntons plant in Stowmarket has already been shipped to the new factory in Thailand. Once in full production, it is anticipated that 3,000 tonnes of malt extract will be shipped annually from Muntons’ plant in Stowmarket, increasing its demand for East Anglian malting barley by nearly 5,000 tonnes.

Neil Pearmain, Muntons ingredients sales and marketing director, said: “This is an auspicious occasion for both Muntons and our south-east Asian distribution partner Jebsen & Jessen.

“Our venture into the manufacture of premium malted ingredients in Asia will bring benefits to the local community and to our business back in the UK.”

Last month Muntons invested £2.5m in management software.