First Milk has announced it will be offering its creameries on Arran and in Campbeltown for sale.
Commenting on the announcement, Shelagh Hancock, CEO, said: “Following a strategic review, we have determined that our branded consumer-facing businesses in Campbeltown and on Arran are not a strategic fit for First Milk moving forward.
"The review identified that there is undoubtedly a market for the premium Mull of Kintyre and Isle of Arran brands but capturing the opportunities would require significant investment for activity that is not core to our strategic direction.
"However, we are confident that with the right focus and investment under new ownership the businesses would prosper.
"A sale would enable us to continue with our focus on developing our major creameries in Haverfordwest and the Lake District, creating value through broadening and strengthening our strategic partnerships and delivering best value for our members’ investment.
"Campbeltown and Arran Creameries will continue to run as normal during this sale process and we will be working closely with prospective buyers to ensure a smooth transition.
"We appreciate that this decision will affect some of our colleagues, but we hope that under new ownership the sites will thrive, offering good employment prospects for the future."
NFU Scotland Milk Committee Chairman, John Smith, who supplies milk to the Campbeltown creamery said: “While producers supplying these creameries are shell-shocked at the announcement, the most important thing to keep in mind is that, in Mull of Kintyre and Arran cheddar, both creameries are making world-famous; award-winning high quality cheese and both sites should be hugely attractive to potential buyers.
“In the short term however, farmers supplying these creameries will be frustrated, justifiably worried but not completely surprised by the announcement. They have built their businesses with a view to continuing to milk cows and have stuck with First Milk through thick and thin.
"However, these are local, family farms who have also successfully invested in building and promoting their brand locally and nationally and we must now look to the future.
“There are no other milk buyers currently operating in these remote milk fields but they are very productive, producing high quality grass-fed milk so the focus is now firmly on building a plan and attracting potential buyers into the area to view the plants.
"For a relatively small investment, potential buyers or partners have an opportunity to take the Kintyre and Arran brands into higher value specialist markets backed by a story with real provenance and great tasting cheese."
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