ornua dairy

Irish dairy co-op Ornua has sold a majority stake in its US specialty foods distribution business DPI Specialty Foods to private-equity firm Arbor Investments.

The sale, for an undisclosed fee, would allow Ornua to “focus on its core remit of building markets for Irish dairy products”, the company said. The Irish dairy giant has retained a minority share in DPI, with the company’s existing senior management continuing to lead the business.

DPI provides customised sales, marketing and logistics solutions to national, regional and independent retailers and foodservice operators across the US from eight sites spread across the country.

It had an “impressive 30-year record of profitably driving customer sales growth”, said Arbor Investments vice president Alan Weed, and boasted “best-in-class product selection, logistics and merchandising with a highly focused and flexible service model”.

The specialty food distribution sector represented a “great investment opportunity”, added Arbor CEO Gregory Purcell, who noted the sector was “crying out” for alternative distribution models.

Selling DPI was consistent with Ornua’s strategy of reallocating capital and assets to its core business, said Ornua CEO Kevin Lane.

“2015 has seen our group make a series of investments in Spain, the US, the UK, Germany and Nigeria, each delivering value for our member co-ops and dairy farmers,” he added. “Arbor’s introduction to the business ensures that the hard work and achievement of the team at DPI can be further built upon in the years ahead.”