Saputo has said it will acquire Dairy Crest for approximately £975 million, in a move to expand its international presence and enter the UK market.
UK-headquartered Dairy Crest manufactures and markets cheese, butter, spreads and oils under brands such as Cathedral City, Clover, Country Life and Frylight. It employs around 1,100 people in seven locations across the UK.
For the year ended 31 March 2018, Dairy Crest had revenues of approximately £456.8 million and profit after tax of £149.5 million.
Montreal-based Saputo said Dairy Crest is “a well-established and successful industry player with a solid asset base and an experienced management team”, adding that the Dairy Crest portfolio fits with its growth strategy.
In 2015, Dairy Crest sold its dairy unit to Müller in a deal worth £80 million. The division made the ready-to-drink flavoured milk brand Frijj, cream, bulk butter and milk powders.
Dairy Crest brands include Davidstow, Utterly Butterly and Country Life.
Last year, Dairy Crest revealed a £75 million expansion of its creamery in Davidstow, Cornwall. The company said the investment will boost growth of its Cathedral City and Davidstow cheese brands, increase whey production and reduce the facility’s environmental impact.
One of the world’s top ten dairy processors, Saputo agreed a CAD 1.29 billion ($1 billion) to buy Australia’s struggling dairy business Murray Goulburn in 2017 – taking on 2,300 employees and 11 manufacturing facilities in Australia and China.
It has since bought US goat’s cheese manufacturer Montchevre and speciality cheeses and yogurts maker Shepherd Gourmet Dairy.
Last November, the company revealed plans to build a new dairy processing facility in Port-Coquitlam, Canada, in a move to expand its business in western Canada.
Saputo said it expects the Dairy Crest transaction to close in the second quarter of 2019.
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