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Canadian takeover 'nothing but good news' says Dairy Crest CEO

Chief executive Mark Allen told Farmers Guardian there would be no change for its farmers.


Alex   Black

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Alex   Black
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Canadian takeover 'nothing but good news' says Dairy Crest CEO #teamdairy

Canadian dairy giant Suputo’s acquisition of Dairy Crest will be ‘nothing but good news’ for farmers, after the announcement of a £975 million takeover last Friday (February 22), according to chief executive Mark Allen.

 

There will be no changes for suppliers, but the company will be looking for more milk over the next few years.


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History of Dairy Crest

  • 1981 Established as milk processing arm of Milk Marketing Board
  • 1983 Launched Clover dairy spread
  • 1995 Bought Cathedral City brand from Mendip Foods
  • 1996 Business is privatised
  • 2000 Acquires dairy and cheese division of Unigate
  • 2002 Acquired St Ivel spreads
  • 2006 Sells most own label cheese business to First Milk
  • 2007 Acquires St Hubert, including Cholegram, Le Fleurier and Omega 3 brands
  • 2013 Sells North West doorstep delivery operations to Creamline Dairies
  • 2014 Announces big slump in profits in November
  • 2015 Completes sale of entire legacy milk business and Frijj brand to Muller in December
  • 2019 Agrees takeover by Saputo

The deal marks Saputo’s first in Europe as it looks to grow its business through global acquisitions.

 

Business as usual

 

Dairy Crest would continue to manufacture its products at its UK facilities and Mr Allen said the only change was it would no longer be a public company.

 

And he believed it was ‘nothing but good news’ for farmers.

 

He said: “We have 330 farmers in Devon and Cornwall, formed around a producer organisation we have worked with for a number of years.

 

“Saputo looked at the way we interact with farmers. They are happy what we do is the right way.

 

“There will be absolutely no change for farmers, except that we have already said we are investing £75m at Davidstow.”

 

Mr Allen added the company would be looking for more milk over the next few years and was looking to work with farmers to achieve this. But it may look to recruit more farmers if current suppliers could not ‘satisfy’ requirements.

 

Shareholders

 

It was also good news for shareholders, some of whom were farmers, as Mr Allen believed they got a ‘fair price’ for their shares.

 

“It is really good news for our brands. One thing they have made clear is they want to invest in this business to generate further growth.”

 

As Saputo was a major player in Canada, the US and Australia, Mr Allen was excited about utilising these connections to export Cathedral City.

 

Saputo was also involved in infant formula, which Mr Allen believed could open other opportunities from utilising raw materials from cheese production.

Who are Saputo?

  • Founded in Montreal, Canada, in 1954
  • One of the top 10 dairy companies in the world
  • The largest dairy processor in Canada
  • Major player in Argentina, Australia and the US
  • Has completed 30 acquisitions since 1997
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