Arla has sold its Crediton plant to a management buy-out team led by two former Milk Link executives.

The plant was bought by former Milk Link CEO Neil Kennedy and former Milk Link group finance director Tim Smiddy for an undisclosed amount.

Arla was required to sell off the plant to get European Commission clearance for its merger with Milk Link last October.

A consultation with the plant’s 117 employees is under way, and the sale will require final EC approval. It is then expected to complete by the end of June 2013.

Crediton produces long-life dairy products, including cream, milk, flavoured dairy drinks and fresh bulk cream. It has a milk processing capacity of about 200 million litres.

There were suggestions earlier this year Ireland’s Lakeland Dairies was interested in acquiring Crediton, but the company denied any interest at the end of April. First Milk and Müller had also been rumoured to be interested.