Westbury Dairies Limited, the joint venture between Arla* and First Milk, has today confirmed that full ownership of Westbury Dairies Limited has transferred to Arla. The joint venture company, located at Westbury, Wiltshire, operates the country’s most modern skimmed milk powder and bulk butter production facility.
First Milk has shared access of the site in various joint ventures for over 12 years, dating back to 2003. Arla became a partner in the joint venture in September 2010 and purchased the freehold of the site in December 2013.
Taking full ownership of the joint venture is a strategic move for Arla and a natural step to providing the business with an opportunity to optimise its manufacturing footprint in the UK.
Peter Giørtz-Carlsen, Executive Vice President, Arla Foods UK said: “We are pleased to have come to this agreement. Arla has just launched Strategy 2020 in which we aim to grow our business in eight global dairy categories and six market regions around the world. The Westbury site is now an integral part of that global network of Arla production sites and will benefit from being so, further helping the UK to play an even more significant role in our global strategy.”
The news is a further step for First Milk in reshaping its business. The agreement announced today will enable First Milk to continue to have access to the powder drying capacity at the Westbury site during peak milk production and at other pre-defined times of the year.
Mike Gallacher, First Milk Chief Executive added: “I am delighted to announce this significant step in the reshaping of First Milk around our core Cheese and Liquid business. This follows recent announcements of our return to trading profit, the establishment of a new Board and Governance structure, and the sale in December of the Glenfield Dairy subsidiary.
“While the dairy industry remains exceptionally tough, the progress we have made over the last nine months gives us the platform to focus this year on improving the relative returns to our members.
“We have worked very closely with Arla to reach this agreement and continue to see this as an important trading relationship for First Milk.”
Arla has a packet butter production facility at the Westbury site, where it makes Anchor butter and own label butter for the major retailers
*Arla Foods Limited and Arla Milk Link Limited have held shares separately (with First Milk Limited) in the Westbury Dairies Limited joint venture
Arla Foods is a global dairy company and co-operative owned by 12,700 dairy farmers with circa 3,000 of whom are British.
Dating back to 1881, Arla’s purpose is to secure the highest value for its farmers’ milk, while creating opportunities for their growth. With production facilities in 11 countries and sales offices in a further 30, Arla is the world’s fifth largest dairy company and largest supplier of organic dairy products. Arla has a total of more than 18,000 colleagues and its products are sold under the well-known brands Arla®, Lurpak® and Castello® in more than 100 countries.
Arla Foods UK is the largest dairy company in the country and is home to leading dairy brands Anchor, Cravendale, and Lactofree. It has a turnover of £2.3 billion. As well as being number one in fresh liquid milk, butter, spreads and cream, Arla is the UK’s largest cheese manufacturer. It has also built the world’s largest fresh milk facility located at Aylesbury and has plans for it to be the first zero carbon site of its kind. The UK business has a team of approximately 3,500 colleagues located at its dairies, distribution centres and head office.