11 December 1998

Express buys big stake in Claymore

EXPRESS Dairies has paid £2.2m for a 51% share in the liquid milk business of Claymore Dairies, a farmer co-op based at Nairn which took over from the North of Scotland Milk Marketing Board. It has an 8% share of Scottish liquid milk supplies.

The co-op will continue outright ownership of its cheese business. Express has also leased a former chicken plant at Coatbridge to act as a supply centre for central Scotland. The Coatbridge centre is just a few miles from the headquarters of Wiseman Dairies. Wiseman also has an existing supply contract with Claymore and is likely to review that position.

Express chief executive, Neil Davidson, denied he was beginning a milk war with Wiseman. "We have been in Scotland for two years since we bought the former Scottish Pride UHT plant at Kirkcudbright. These latest moves give an opportunity to develop in all sectors," he said. &#42