Creamery Sale Reflects Supply Chain Changes

UK - Dairy Crest says its proposed sale of shares in Wexford Creamery reflects a growing trend for farmers to own more of the milk processing supply chain.
calendar icon 28 January 2010
clock icon 2 minute read

Dairy Crest announced that it is in advanced discussions with Wexford Milk Producers (WMP) to sell 50% per cent of the shares in Wexford Creamery Limited which if successful will result in WMP becoming the majority shareholder in the Creamery.

This transaction would reduce Dairy Crest's shareholding in the Creamery from 80 per cent to 30 per cent and increase WMP's shareholding from 20 per cent to 70 per cent. Any transaction will be conditional on the approval of WMP's members and is expected to complete by the end of March 2010.

Dairy Crest's proposed sale of part of its shareholding in the Creamery to WMP allows Dairy Crest to concentrate on its key brands and facilitates the recent trend for dairy farmers to own more of the milk processing supply chain.

The cash proceeds from the proposed sale of around €9 million will be used by Dairy Crest to repay bank debt.

Dairy Crest will retain a minority stake in the Creamery and will continue to provide a range of services to Wexford, including packing and distribution, and will also sell Wexford branded cheese in the UK on behalf of the Creamery.

Martyn Wilks, Executive Managing Director of Dairy Crest's Foods Division and outgoing chairman of Wexford Creamery, said: "We have enjoyed a long and positive relationship with WMP through our joint ownership of the Creamery and this will continue. The strategy of Dairy Crest's Foods Division is to increasingly focus on a small number of key brands and the transaction is another step in this direction. We will continue to work with WMP for the benefit of the Creamery. "

The Chairman of Wexford Milk Producers, Michael Vaughan said: "This is a tremendous opportunity for WMP to determine our own future. We are pleased that Dairy Crest will retain a stake in the Creamery and will assist in the development of the business."

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