UPDATE: UK: Wiseman “comfortable” with production demands
Robert Wiseman Dairies has said that it is "comfortable" with its ability to increase production to meet growing demand and respond to the changing landscape of the UK's milk supply market.
Robert Wiseman revealed this morning that it had seen first quarter sales volumes increase 8.5% year-on-year, as it took on additional contracts following the collapse of Dairy Farmers of Britain.
The company started supplying the Co-operative Group a month ahead of schedule as well as providing milk to Spar-suppliers Cappers and Blakemore after DFB was placed in administration last month.
"We have done well to pick up customers after the demise of Dairy Farmers," Billy Keane, group finance director, told just-food.
In order to meet this uplift in demand, the company has returned to a seven-day work cycle at its Manchester and Droitwich Spa dairies. Robert Wiseman said that this would continue until its new expanded production comes on-line early next year at its new Bridgewater facility.
The group is investing GBP7.5m (US$12.2m) to expand Bridgewater's capacity 375m litres per annum.
However, Keane acknowledged, the company would be hard-pushed to cope with further volume increases in the near-term.
"Meeting demand is a bit harder than normal… If we did need to increase supply we could potentially be embarrassed. But it is only for the next few months, until we see production increase at Bridgewater," Keane said.
Keane added that he is not concerned that Wiseman might be unable to capitalise on any further consolidation opportunities in the UK dairy sector.
"Major opportunities came with the demise of Dairy Farmers of Britain. Given that their customers have all found a home, we don't anticipate much further movement in the short-term. In the longer-term, we still have ambitions to continue growing our milk volumes," he said.
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