Quebec-based Saputo, Canada’s largest dairy processor, has confirmed that it is in the “advanced stages” of negotiations with British cheese and cheese ingredients manufacturer, Dairy Partners.
Saputo announced plans to close the plant in Newcastle Emlyn, which mainly produces mozzarella for the food service market, and another cheese manufacturing site in Heiden, Germany in February 2013. The facilities account for Saputo’s total processing presence in Europe.
Earlier this month, Saputo revealed that it was in talks with Lactalis and a separate unnamed company in regards to the acquisition of its plants in Germany and Britain respectively.
Speaking with DairyReporter.com earlier today, Saputo spokeswoman, Sandy Vassiadis, confirmed that the previously unidentified party is Dairy Partners.
“Advanced stage of negotiations”
“We are indeed in advanced stage of negotiations with Dairy Partners for the sale of our facility in Newcastle Emlyn. We intend to finalise soon,” said Vassiadis.
Vassiadis declined, however, to provide any further details of the proposed deal.
“As we are still in negotiation, I can’t provide you with specific information concerning the selling price or the products which will be produced going forward. This is still confidential until the transaction is completed.”
Dairy Partners also confirmed that talks are on-going with Saputo, but declined to discuss its plans for the plant.
“We are in exclusive negotiations with Saputo Inc about the Newcastle Emlyn facility and will be in a position to give more details in the near future,” said a statement sent to DairyReporter.com.
“We aim to save as many jobs as possible”
Saputo attributed its decision to the pull the plug on its operations in Europe to the lack of “short to mid-term opportunities” to ensure profitability in the region.
The company revealed at the time that around 70 jobs at each plant were at risk if the closures were not averted.
Speaking with DairyReporter.com today, Vassiadis said that Saputo hopes to have both deals tied up “as soon as possible.”
“Talks with Lactalis for the sale of our Germany plant are progressing well and both parties intend to finalise soon,” she said. “We intend to finalise both these transactions as soon as possible, and we aim to save as many jobs as possible and service the needs of customers.”