One of Udder Delights shareholders will keep 10% stake in firm

One of Udder Delights' shareholders will keep 10% stake in firm

Megmilk Snow Brand, the Japan-based dairy and infant formula business, has acquired a majority stake in Australian cheese maker Udder Delights.

The deal has seen Megmilk pay AUD14.2m (US$11.1m) for 90% of Udder Delights, a cheese manufacturer based in South Australia.

Megmilk, which generated sales of JPY587.94bn (US$5.25bn) in its most recent financial year, counts among its operations cheese-manufacturing facilities in Japan, Indonesia and Australia. The company's cheese brands in Australia include Unicorn and Nowra Farmhouse.

Expanding its overseas cheese production was one of the strategies Megmilk set out in May when it published its plans for growth up to 2026.

"We will further strengthen the foundation of our mould cheese business in Australia by bringing [Udder Delights] into the group," Megmilk said. "We will also pursue product development as well as marketing-strategy synergies with [local subsidiary] Snow Brand Australia Pty. Ltd."

Udder Delight's product range includes camembert and brie, as well as goat milk and organic cheese.

The company, set up in 1999, generated sales of AUD6.6m and operating profit of AUD1.3m in its most recent financial year, according to data supplied in Megmilk's stock-exchange filing announcing the acquisition.

Udder Delights was set up by Trevor Dunford, who, at the time of sale, held a 50% stake in the business. Son-in-law Saul Sullivan owned the other 50% of the company. He and wife Sheree will continue to own a 10% stake in the firm.

In a post on Udder Delights' Facebook page, Mrs Sullivan wrote: "Saul and I are excited to announce that my dad Trevor has retired and we now have new cheese-making business partners who love what we do at Udder Delights. It's business as usual with lots of opportunity ahead for new delicious cheeses (and maybe butter??), more Adelaide Hills jobs and more milk demand from our local dairy farmers. Thank you to our loyal team, suppliers and customers for your amazing dedication and support."