Arla takes control of milk powder facility Westbury Dairies

Arla takes control of milk powder facility Westbury Dairies

Arla Foods has taken full control of UK business Westbury Dairies after joint venture partner First Milk decided to leave the partnership to focus on cheese and liquid milk. 

Westbury, based in Wiltshire in south-west England, produces skimmed milk powder and bulk butter, including Anchor butter for Arla, which acquired the freehold of the site in December 2013.

"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," Peter Giørtz-Carlsen, executive vice president of Arla's UK arm, said. 

For its part, First Milk said the decision to sell its stake in Westbury comes as a "further step" in its drive to re-shape itself around cheese and liquid milk after a challenging period for the co-operative. In November, the company sold Glenfield Dairy to fellow UK group Graham's The Family Dairy for an undisclosed sum

Westbury is billed by the companies as the UK's "most modern" skimmed milk powder and bulk butter production facility. As part of the agreement, First Milk will continue to have access to Westbury'd powder drying capacity during "peak milk production" and at other predetermined times of the year. 

The financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

Westbury was set up by three UK co-ops, First Milk, Milk Link and Dairy Farmers of Britain in 2003.

Dairy Farmers of Britain went out of business in 2009Arla became a shareholder in Westbury in 2010. Two years later, Arla agreed a deal to merge its UK operations with Milk Link. The Westbury facility started producing Anchor butter for Arla in the autumn of 2012.