Dale Farm is set to make further acquisitions as it looks to ramp up its presence in UK dairy.
Recent acquisitions by the Belfast-based company, which aims to be seen as a UK-wide operator as opposed to a Northern Ireland-only business, have included the Ash Manor cheese Company in North Wales; Northern Irish artisan ice cream producer Mullin; and Fivemiletown Creamery’s specialty cheese brands.
Dale Farm CEO David Dobbin said these acquisitions had already boosted its UK-wide presence, adding he would be interested in further deals to add to Dale Farm’s footprint in Great Britain.
“We have been picking up farmers there and now have three manufacturing facilities,” he said, adding he saw further opportunities for growth in international exports.
His comments came as Dale Farm reported sales up 30% year on year to £293m in the 12 months to 31 March. Profits at the business, which is owned by the United Dairy Farmers co-op, rose 40% over the period to £7.4m. Dale Farm produced more than 40,000 tonnes of Cheddar during the year, while exports of cheese, whey proteins and specialised powder to markets including Russia and China had contributed to export sales rising from £75m to £105m from 2012/13 to 2013/14.
“Our ambitious growth strategy is starting to pay off,” said Dobbin. “We saw solid results across all our business, with Cheddar and butter consumer products both delivering strong growth and increased market share in Britain.”