First Milk has sold its Manchester-based CNP Professional business to The Protein Partners following a strategic review.

The co-op acquired CNP in 2012, but CEO Mike Gallacher first questioned the future of CNP in May 2015 when he admitted the group had tried and in some cases failed to premiumise parts of its business in the past.

He subsequently ordered CNP interim MD Paul Miley to undertake a strategic review of CNP after conceding it and other non-core parts of First Milk had been “dilutive to the performance of the business”.

CNP had been the sports nutrition supplier to cycling outfit Team Sky, but lost that contract to rival Science in Sport in October last year.

Gallacher said today: “The sale of CNP follows a full strategic review by the Board last year. It is the final step in allowing us to focus even more closely on our core businesses in hard cheese and liquid brokering. This focus is delivering improved milk prices and a more sustainable business model for our farmer shareholders.

“Today’s announcement is also a good deal for our CNP employees, our customers and consumers. The brand CNP and the Hyde site will form a key part of the future strategy of The Protein Partners and as such the sale protects employment at the site.”

The Protein Partners will acquire the CNP brand and its manufacturing site in Manchester as part of the deal for an undisclosed sum.

The Protein Partners now has both the premium CNP sports nutrition brand and several co-manufactured brands in its portfolio.