Dairy Crest has announced plans to sell its retailer brand cheese operations to co-operative First Milk in a £61.9m deal.

The sale includes Dairy Crest’s cheddar creameries at Haverfordwest and Aspatria and its prepacking and whey processing facilities at Maelor.

The sale is part of Dairy Crest’s plans to develop its branded and added value products, including Cathedral City, the UK’s biggest cheddar brand.

The deal is expected to be completed on October 14, depending on approval from First Milk’s members.

Dairy Crest also said it expects first-half profits to meet forecasts, helped by the proposed sale to First Milk and the acquisition of Express Dairies doorstep and middle ground business from Arla last month.

“We expect to report first half results in line with expectations and to deliver a good outcome for the full year,” Dairy Crest chief executive Drummond Hall said.

For further detail and industry reaction, see this week’s edition of Farmers Weekly.