Arla buys stake in Westbury milk plant

Arla Foods UK has become a shareholder in Westbury Dairies, it was announced today (14 September).

Westbury’s owners First Milk and Milk Link have agreed to sell Arla a minority share in the company, which operates a modern skimmed milk powder and bulk butter factory in Wiltshire.

The deal secures the long-term future for Westbury and will see all three companies using it for their milk balancing requirements.

“This joint venture with Milk Link and First Milk in Westbury Dairies will give us access to the high-quality balancing facilities which we require, following the closure of our Northallerton creamery,” Arla Foods UK chief executive, Peter Lauritzen, said.

A spokesman for Westbury Dairies said the partnership was also a positive step for the British dairy industry.

“At certain times of the year, such as the spring flush, the facility is very busy but, at other times, activity is minimal resulting in the site’s overall operational costs per unit being high. Our partnership with Arla will help address this.”

Westbury Dairies

• Joint venture between First Milk and Milk Link
• Peak milk processing capacity of 2.2m litres per day, equivalent to 30 litres a second
• It would take the milk of 130,000 cows to fill the plant each year
• The plant can produce up to 70,000t of skimmed milk powder and 40,000t of butter a year, 5.5% of the UK production capacity
• At the height of production, the factory can produce up to 3kg of SMP, 4kg of cream and 2kg of butter every second