Müller will consider the future of doorstep delivery service Milk & More as part of a business-wide review if plans to acquire Dairy Crest get the go-ahead.
The service is to be offloaded by Dairy Crest as part of an £80m sale of its dairies operation to Müller UK & Ireland, which also includes the divestment of the processor’s fresh liquid milk, flavoured milk (including the Frijj brand), bulk and potted cream, bulk butter and milk powder businesses.
Müller UK & Ireland CEO Ronald Kers said the company would undertake a full review of the business if the acquisition secures shareholder and regulatory approval, but would not be drawn on the specific future of the service, despite Dairy Crest CEO Mark Allen reaffirming its importance.
Doorstep deliveries were “an integral part of the business we are selling, the milkman is going to be around for a very long time”, claimed Allen.
However, Kers said Müller would need “to find savings and will review” the whole business if the deal goes through.
“We aim to create a more competitive, sustainable, efficient and innovative dairy processor in the UK which will generate real benefits for customers, consumers, employees and suppliers.
While claiming the Dairy Crest business complemented Müller’s in many ways, he conceded the inherited company did have “strengths and weaknesses”.
Kers added that Müller would seek to address the “structural issues of the liquid milk category” which he described as unsustainable, adding the acquisition would “allow us to reduce our costs, increase our efficiencies and invest in the future”.
Müller would endeavour to avoid any job losses as a result of the acquisition, and would seek to combat the “huge trade deficit for the UK dairy industry” by investing in an export and NPD drive.
“We aim to create a more competitive, sustainable, efficient and innovative dairy processor in the UK which will generate real benefits for customers, consumers, employees and suppliers,” he said.
Allen said the deal was “good for all parties”, including the farming industry as the acquisition took additional costs out of the supply chain.