Burges Salmon team advise ex-Milk Link chiefs on buyout of dairy business

May 30, 2013

A combined team of corporate, banking, commercial and competition specialists from Bristol-based law firm Burges Salmon has advised the management of Crediton Dairy on their buy-out from Arla Foods.

The buy-out team was led by two former Milk Link directors – chief executive Neil Kennedy and group finance director Tim Smiddy.

The sale of the Devon-based dairy was a condition required by the European Commission when it gave approval for the October 2012 merger of Milk Link, the British dairy cooperative and Arla Foods. The acquisition, which has been financed by Lloyds Banking Group, is conditional on the undertaking of TUPE consultation with employees (which has now commenced) and final European Commission approval. It is expected to be completed by the end of June. Financial details have not been disclosed.

Burges Salmon’s legal team was led by corporate partner Alan Barr supported by associate Julie Book. Specialist advice was also provided by commercial partner Philip Davey, competition partner Matthew O’Regan and banking partner Sandra Forbes supported by Victoria Allsopp.

Crediton Dairy has a milk processing capacity of 200m litres and employs 117 employees at its site in Devon. Its product portfolio includes long-life milk, long-life cream, extended shelf life milk and flavoured dairy drinks and fresh bulk cream.

It has strong growth potential based upon its self-contained, well-invested manufacturing facility and growing customer base, according to the management buy-out team.

It will benefit from a milk supply agreement with Arla and, in the longer term, will seek to recruit its own dedicated group of farmers.

Mr Kennedy said: “Crediton Dairy is well-positioned to play an important role in the fast-growing and dynamic milk drinks sector – aiming to be a highly-professional and progressive business: one focused on making great-tasting, high-quality products with demonstrable British provenance and traceability, complemented by customer service excellence, category insight and targeted new product development.”

Burges Salmon’s Alan Barr added: “As a firm we have extensive experience in the dairy sector, so it was very rewarding to combine that insight with the strength of our corporate and commercial expertise to help facilitate a smooth transaction.”

Arla Foods was advised by Ashurst.



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