Thanks to plant "tunings" and portfolio optimisation we have been able to reduce delivery times and increased gross sales revenue by over 20%. Our developers are working together with the nutrition marketing department to create recipes that satisfy the revised EU standards. However, that is not all – we are also applying the latest scientific discoveries. In the customer area, we continue to prepare for the coming expansion of capacities. We want to fill the additional capacities with orders from new and existing customers.
In recent months we have put a lot of work into plant maximisation. We came very close to the goal of achieving the highest possible capacity utilisation in the first half of 2016. This can be seen in the gross sales revenue of CHF 60.2 million. The amount rose by 20.3% compared to the previous year. This turnover growth shows the impressive success of our maximisation efforts. By placing high volumes of orders, our customers have made a significant contribution to this increase.
In the first half of the year, the Board of Directors approved roughly CHF 80 million of investments in the production and filling capacities for infant formula and warehousing logistics. Construction is already underway on a building with high-bay racking. The planning for the new spray tower line and the new tin line for filling the infant formula is on schedule. According to the plan, we will have the new capacities starting in Q1 2018.
On the sales side we can also acquire new customers once again and open up additional markets for ourselves thanks to this increase in capacities. A period of more than one year from the first discussions to the registration of the infant formula for the market is more the standard than the exception. But we are also planning capacities for our own brands in the strategic objective of forward integration.
The staff in development has changed the recipes so that they are in compliance with the new requirements for the eurozone and are state of the art from a scientific perspective. The three-year transition period started at the beginning of this year. For example, it was necessary to adjust the nutritional value profile and the protein content to the new EU ordinance. We continue to work on projects in the area of fat optimisation and for the production of high-quality lactose. Our developers are also focusing on increasing capacities, process optimisation for the plants and preparatory work for the process development in the new plant.
We continue to assume 5% full-year growth. We are also still looking for potential partners on the market so that we can quickly utilise the gained production and filling capacities as soon as possible. The new rules in China must also be analysed in more detail. We will continue to receive information from our Chinese partners over the next few months. We still see solid opportunities for a good market position in the new situation.