Wed, 18 Apr 2018 | BUSINESS SALE
First Milk has announced that it will sell off two of its creameries in Scotland that produce premium cheeses, saying that the cost of keeping them running is too high.
The company said that the two facilities, located on Arran and in Campbeltown, required “significant investment” in order to keep up production of products under the Isle of Arran and Mull of Kintyre brands.
First Milk said that though both operations will continue as normal during the sale process, both sites could prosper with a new owner who was willing to invest in them.
The firm’s chief executive, Shelagh Hancock, said that the move represented a shift in focus to other creameries located in Wales and Cumbria as the Scottish facilities were “not a strategic fit” moving forward following a company-wide review.
She added: “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."
Farming industry group NFU Scotland said that producers who supplied First Milk were “shell-shocked” by the announcement, however.
The group’s milk committee chairman John Smith, who supplies milk to the Campbeltown creamery himself, said that as both facilities were well-known for their world-famous cheeses they would be “hugely attractive” to potential buyers.
He also warned that in the short term, other dairy farmers who supplied the creameries would be “frustrated, justifiably worried but not completely surprised” by the news.
Smith added: “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."
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