UK cheese business Barber’s Group has acquired locally headquartered dairy exporter Somerdale International.
The deal, struck for an undisclosed amount, will not result in “any major changes” for Somerdale, which already worked with Barber’s in an export capacity.
Somerdale will continue to operate from its headquarters in Somerset, south-west England, and will retain all of its UK and overseas staff and senior management team, a brief statement from the two companies said.
Barber’s is a family-owned producer based in Somerset that also Ford Farm Cheesemakers in Dorset. The company, which farms around 3,000 acres, is one of six manufacturers to produce West Country Farmhouse Cheddar, the only PDO-accredited cheddar.
In its last reported financial results, to the year ending 31 March 2022, the company posted turnover of £115.4m ($147.1m) and operating profit of £7.4m, with profit for the financial year at £6.1m.
Somerdale, in its last reported financial results, also to the year ending 31 March 2022, reported turnover of £44.3m, operating profit of £1.7m and profit for the financial year of £1.2m.
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Somerdale was founded in 1990 and exports 250 cheese brands to wholesale, distribution, retail and foodservice customers. Around 95% of its sales come from export.
As well as Barber’s, it exports Cheshire-based Joseph Heler Cheese, Nottingham-based Cropwell Bishop and Welsh dairy producer Castle Dairies.
In 2021, Somerdale acquired the blended-cheese business of local peer Abergavenny Fine Foods, part of a portfolio of cheeses developed for international markets.
Stephen Jones, co-founder and director of Somerdale, said: “Our vision at Somerdale has always been to grow, on a sustainable basis, the export of the finest British cheese and dairy products across the globe.
“We’ve made great progress in this and believe that our deal with Barbers, with whom we share many common values and goals, will provide us with the necessary financial investment and security to take British dairy exports to the next level.
“It is important to stress that Somerdale will continue to act as a standalone business. Indeed, from a customer and supplier point of view, we don’t envisage that the deal will result in any major changes.
“We will maintain our ability to offer our overseas customers the very best of British cheeses sourced from many of the UK’s leading producers. While we will also continue to operate from our well-invested and dedicated headquarters in Wellington Somerset and will retain all of our UK and overseas staff and senior management team.”
Barber’s managing director, Giles Barber, said: “We are delighted to reinforce our long and successful partnership with Somerdale with this even closer tie-up for the future. We look forward to helping build on the amazing platform they have created for promoting great British cheese and dairy products to a truly global customer base.”