UK dairy cooperative First Milk has bought peer Fonterra’s 51% stake in the Fast Forward whey protein joint venture the two companies set up in 2011.
From next month, First Milk will become the sole owner of the whey protein concentrate manufacturing facilities based at its Lake District Creamery.
From a Fonterra perspective, the move would seem to fit with the direction of travel of its ongoing strategic review. The New Zealand dairy giant’s chief executive Miles Hurrell recently said the co-op would be “prioritising our New Zealand milk supply and simplifying our global portfolio”.
No financial details have been disclosed in relation to the transaction.
In addition, First Milk, owned by around 2,200 farmers, has announced a new strategic partnership with Havero Hoogwegt for global sales and distribution of its whey product WPC80.
Netherlands-based Havero Hoogwegt, a global specialist in dairy proteins, supplies products to more than 50 countries. It is part of the Hoogwegt Group, the world’s largest privately-owned dairy ingredients provider, and an existing First Milk partner
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Shelagh Hancock, First Milk’s chief executive, said: “The added-value protein market continues to grow with applications for high-quality whey products, such as WPC80, in the expanding sports nutrition and functional foods categories. We are delighted to take over full ownership of our well-invested whey processing facility at our Lake District Creamery and to confirm our new sales and distribution partnership with Havero Hoogwegt.”
Freek-Jan van der Puijl, managing director of Havero Hoogwegt, added: “We see First Milk as an experienced producer of WPC of consistently high quality and with a good reputation. We are proud to enter this partnership, which enables us to further grow and strengthen our global market position, allowing us to create best value for our partners.”
The 2011 joint venture deal signed by Fonterra and First Milk saw whey proteins made at First Milk’s Lake District Creamery used in Fonterra’s functional and cultured nutrition ingredients such as PowerProtein and ElevateProtein.
Fonterra had not made a statement about the sale of its stake in the joint venture at the time of writing.