Dairy Crest to build in east London

16 November 2000

Dairy Crest to build in east London

By Robert Harris

DAIRY CREST is to build a new dairy at Chadwell Heath, east of London, to handle 380 million litres a year by the end of 2001.

A 15m investment will double the sites current capacity, creating 180 jobs.

However, it will mean the closure next July of the Westway Dairy in west London, with the loss of 305 jobs.

The new dairy will be dedicated to processing and packing milk in cartons and polybottles to multiples and retail customers in the capital and the south-east.

John Houliston, chief executive, said: “This is a tremendous opportunity for Dairy Crest and one which will enable us to enhance the efficiency with which we serve our customers.

“The scale and level of automation will set new standards and will ultimately deliver an annual capacity of around 600m litres of milk.”

He added that further major investment at a second plant would be announced early next year.

The company has also announced results for the half-year ending 30 September.

Sales rose 41% to 559m, though this included three months trading from the Unigate dairy and cheese acquisition earlier this year.

This produced a total operating profit of 30.5m, though the underlying Dairy Crest figure slipped 1% to 22.3m.

Clover spread, Cathedral City cheddar and Frijj and Yoplait desserts grew between 5% and 25% on the year, resulting in the Consumer Foods division posting an adjusted operating profit of 16.5m on sales of 333m, a margin of 5%.

An interim dividend of 4.5p a share has been declared, up 8%.

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