A leading dairy co-operative is set to become a major player in the cheese sector with the acquisition of the UK operations of Ireland’s Glanbia.
Farmer-owned Milk Link has joined forces with Glanbia to set up £22.5m joint venture Cheese Company Holdings, with the co-op taking a 75% stake. At the same time, Glanbia has agreed to sell 100% of its UK subsidiary Glanbia Foods to the new company for £94.3m.
Cheese Company Holdings will rename Glanbia Foods as The Cheese Company. The new company will be the second largest cheese producer in the UK, with strong positions in cheddar, Stilton and British territorial cheeses. The operation will maintain Glanbia Foods’ four processing facilities in Taw Valley, Devon, Lockerbie, Melton Mowbray and Malpas as well as a major packing plant in Oswestry, and safequard 1,000 jobs. Colin Stump, chief executive of Glanbia Foods will be appointed MD. He said as well as maintaining its own label supply, The Cheese Company would put new emphasis on developing brands and added value products in health and convenience.
Barry Nicholls, Milk Link chief executive, said: “Moving into cheese production complements our substantial existing liquid milk and ingredients businesses. By integrating the source of supply and production, we can get closer to retailers and the end consumer.”