Ornua announces plans to acquire new UK cheese business

The offices of Ornua, Ireland’s biggest dairy exporter
The offices of Ornua, Ireland’s biggest dairy exporter
Margaret Donnelly

Margaret Donnelly

Ornua - formerly the Irish Dairy Board - has announeced plans to acquire FJ Need (Foods) Ltd, a Cheshire-based cheese ingredients company.

Some 53% of Irish cheese is sold into the UK market last year, down from 60% the previous year, and Ornua says the acquisition will strengthen its position within the UK market.

Ornua already has a large footprint in the UK cheese market - it is the largest buyer of British cheese in the UK and it owns the brand Pilgrim's Choice, which is the UK's number two cheddar brand, worth £72m.

FJ Need was established over 40 years ago, and is a family-run cheese company, and includes a cheese cutting, grating and slicing facility, two cheese brands and a distribution fleet. 

According to Ornua, the acquisition is central to Ornua’s strategy of further strengthening its core businesses in Germany, North America and the UK.

It says that FJ Need’s strong competences will also strengthen Ornua’s UK business’s capabilities in the post Brexit environment.

FJ Need supplies a range of British and Irish cheese ingredients to the foodservice and food manufacturing sectors and Ornua has been a supplier of high quality Irish cheese to F.J Need for many years.

FJ Need’s cheese production facility currently produces 16,000t per annum and Ornua says it believes that there is significant potential to expand this capacity to take advantage of the rapidly growing foodservice market for cheese ingredients both in the UK and in international markets.

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This potential for expansion into new sectors, including leveraging Ornua’s existing export routes to market, is a key benefit identified by Ornua in concluding the transaction.

The FJ Need acquisition will be the latest in a series of investments by Ornua, targeting new routes to market for Irish dairy products.

Completion of the acquisition is subject to UK competition approval.

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