Dairy Crest has more than 1,100 employees across seven sites
Richard Bell

Canadian dairy giant to buy Cathedral City maker for close to £1bn

Global dairy giant Saputo is set to take over the British company behind the Cathedral City cheese brand for almost £1bn.

The Canada-headquartered dairy processor is set to pay 620p a share for Dairy Crest, which will value the business at £975m.

Saputo has completed 30 acquisitions since 1997, but does not currently operate in Europe.

In a statement, the company said it is looking to “increase its international presence” and enter the UK market with the acquisition of a “well-established and successful industry player”.

Dairy Crest’s brands include spreads Utterly Butterly and Clover, Country Life butter and Frylight cooking oil.

The firm is likely to continue manufacturing from its existing UK facilities, which will continue to be managed and run by the current senior management team and staff.

Saputo’s chief executive, Lino Saputo Jr, said in a statement that Dairy Crest will help “accelerate its long-term growth and business development potential”.

Dairy Crest has more than 1,100 employees across seven sites, including a creamery in Cornwall.

Stephen Alexander, chairman at Dairy Crest, commented: “Dairy Crest is a leading UK dairy company and the proud manufacturer of Cathedral City, the largest UK cheese brand.

“Saputo is one of the top ten dairy processors in the world. Both companies have built strong positions in the cheese sectors in their respective home markets.”

He continued: “The acquisition should enable Dairy Crest to benefit from Saputo’s global expertise and strong financial position to fulfil and accelerate its growth ambitions.

“The businesses have strong shared values and the board is confident that Saputo’s plans to invest in and grow the Dairy Crest business mean the proposed transaction is positive for all its stakeholders.”

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