Milk Link restructures long life - for the long term

By Linda Rano

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Milk, Milk link

Milk Link, a leading UK dairy co-operative, said it is
restructuring its long life milk operations to ensure the future
profitability of the business.

A spokesperson at Milk Link confirmed that this will include changes and a refocusing of the two long life milk processing facilities at Kirkcudbright, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland, and Crediton in Devon "in order to deliver greater efficiencies and cost savings​." Kirkcudbright will now focus on producing added value extended shelf life milks such as Mars, Flora Pro.active and Lactofree, cream portions and long life creams. Crediton will now focus on the production of all of Milk Link's standard long life milk for major retail and food service customers. This will be supported by an investment of over €1.3m (over £1m) in the installation of a state of the art, high speed filler. The improved square pack format can then be extended across a number of major customers and will assist in: "the reinvigorating of the long life milk category​." The spokesperson added that the changes will also result in the potential loss of up to 45 posts at Kirkcudbright and up to 40 positions at Crediton. The company said that the job losses: "will be needed to ensure that our remaining business is profitable and to protect as many jobs as possible for the future​." Last week Milk Link also announced that Chief Executive Barry Nicholls would be stepping down to be replaced by Neil Kennedy. Kennedy was appointed in 2004 as MD of The Cheese Company before becoming MD of the cooperative's consumer division. The company said that Nicholls was due to step down last year but was asked by the Board to stay on to oversee merger negotiations. Last month merger talks with rival First Milk were called off by mutual agreement, over unresolved valuation issues. Both Milk Link and First Milk stated that they were convinced that strong farmer-owned dairy groups represented the best long-term future for manufacturers in the UK, but they conceded that this was not currently possible by joining forces. "As such, both will now continue with their plans to grow and develop their respective businesses​" the two parties said. Milk Link is entirely owned by British dairy farmers, whose milk is processed into a range of products including long-life milk and creams, extended shelf life products, flavoured milks, custards, milk powders, soft cheeses and cultured ingredients. Milk Link says it is the UK's largest cheese producer, supplying food processors, major food retailers and food service organisations.

Related topics: Markets, Fresh Milk

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