Mona Dairy

Source: Mona Dairy

Directors at the plant said they had failed to source sufficient short-term funding for it to keep functioning in its current form

Anglesey-based cheesemaker Mona Dairy is facing an uncertain future after its major shareholders conceded they had run out of cash.

A sale or administration is understood to be a possibility for the £20m cheese plant – which opened last year and was touted as one of Europe’s most sustainable, running solely on renewable energy and operating electric milk trucks.

Read more: UPDATED – Mona Dairy appoints administrators

Mona Dairy specialises in the production of cheddar and continental cheeses such as gouda, with milk sourced from 31 farms across the north of Wales. It is headed up by co-founder and chair David Wynne-Finch – a local dairy farmer, alongside CEO and dairy industry veteran Ronald Akkerman.

At the time of the project’s launch in 2022, Akkerman said Mona Dairy would aim to crack the export market, alongside the UK supermarket and foodservice own-label cheese category, with plans for branded cheeses to follow.

The Grocer reported at launch that the business was funded through a combination of private investment, loans and a £3m grant from the Welsh government’s business innovation and tourism escalator scheme (BITES).

By 2024, some £40m had already been spent on running the 5,000 sq ft facility near Holyhead, according to a source close to the business, with an injection of more than £10m required this year but no longer forthcoming, The Grocer understands.

“After five years of striving to develop the newest and most sustainable cheese factory in Europe, and fighting against many factors outside of our control, Mona Dairy in Anglesey is sad to announce that it has failed to source sufficient short-term funding from its key stakeholders to keep functioning in its current form,” a statement by the business read.


Source: Mona Dairy

“We remain hopeful we can secure a new outcome in the coming days and Mona Dairy will be able to continue its journey, even if that means it is under new ownership,” it added.

Alongside a failure to attract new investment, delays in securing BRCGS certification is also understood to have hampered the company’s ability to trade.

The dairy employs around 50 staff, who would be kept on “for as long as we can, as we work through our options”, the business said.

Cheshire-based dairy and plant-based processor Meadow has agreed to buy the milk destined for the business for an interim period. “We are working to assist Mona Dairy’s producers by providing them with a sustainable solution to their milk supply at this difficult time,” said Meadow supply chain director Jim Bebb.

“We have tried our hardest to deliver the best and most modern, environmentally sustainable cheese processing plant for our farmers and for Wales, and are devastated that we could not get it over the line. We were so close,” Akkerman said in the statement.

“But close has not been enough. We thank all of the many people who came with us on our journey and are truly sorry we have come up short,” he added.

“The shareholders will be working tirelessly over the next few days to secure the best outcome for everyone involved in the Mona Dairy project.”