The UK’s Dairy Crest Group has said its trading in the first quarter was in line with expectations and said it plans to close a factory in Enfield.

“I am pleased to confirm that trading for the first three months of the current financial year ending 31 March 2005 is in line with our expectations,” chairman Simon Oliver told the company’s Annual General Meeting.

Oliver also said the company has successfully completed a new five year £350m (US$648.3m) loan facility with a syndicate of 11 banks. The facility, which comprises an £80m term loan and a £270m revolving credit, is to refinance existing debt and for general corporate purposes.

The company also announced that its fresh dairy products joint venture, Yoplait Dairy Crest, plans to close its Enfield factory in early 2005 with the loss of approximately 320 jobs. The site currently supplies own label products to retailers and the ingredients markets.

“The closure will have a negligible impact on Dairy Crest Group profits, excluding exceptional items, for the year ending 31 March 2005 but will result in an exceptional cash cost in the region of £2m, representing Dairy Crest’s share of the closure costs,” Oliver said.