First Milk sells sports nutrition unit in "final" stage of strategy review

First Milk sells sports nutrition unit in "final" stage of strategy review

UK dairy cooperative First Milk has agreed to sell its sports nutrition  business CNP Professional to The Protein Partners Ltd. 

The company reached the decision to sell the Manchester-based business following completion of a full strategy review. 

Mike Gallacher, chief executive of First Milk, said that the disposal would enable First Milk to focus on its core business. 

"The sale of CNP follows a full strategic review by the board last year. It is the final step in allowing us to focus even more closely on our core businesses in hard cheese and liquid brokering," he explained. "This focus is delivering improved milk prices and a more sustainable business model for our farmer shareholders."

Gallacher added that the sale of the business "protects" the future of CNP employees. "Today's announcement is also a good deal for our CNP employees, our customers and consumers. The brand CNP and the Hyde site will form a key part of the future strategy of The Protein Partners and as such the sale protects employment at the site."

Problems at First Milk came to the fore in January last year, when the cooperative deferred payments to farmers and increased the amount it asks members to invest in the business to bolster cash flow hit by a slump in commodity prices.

The company has since embarked on a strategy to focus on its core cheese and brokering operations, presided over by Gallacher who took the helm in March last year.

First Milk has reshaped its operations by exiting loss-making businesses, such as the sale of its Glenfield Dairy. The cooperative has cut jobs and reduced its milk payout as well as revamping its leadership structure to provide it with a clearer commercial focus.

Financial terms of the CNP sale were not disclosed.