Under the terms of the agreement, ownership of the in Minsterley, Shropshire-based facility will transfer to Müller from 1 January 2013, while an eight year co-packing arrangement between Greencore and Müller to manufacture Cadbury chilled desserts will be terminated.
The facility makes Cadbury chilled desserts, including Cadbury Mousse, Trifle and twin-pot products, which Müller sells under a recently-extended license from Cadbury.
Food manufacturer Greencore will be given until January 2013 to transfer production of its remaining desserts business and related manufacturing equipment to its Evercreech facility, where it will maintain around £50m of its desserts business.
Growing chilled desserts category
Müller UK spokesperson, Graeme Jack, told DairyReporter.com that the firm intends to extend the range of Cadbury’s brand products produced at the site and strengthen its position in the UK market following its purchase of Robert Wiseman Dairies earlier this year.
“We are acquiring this facility because we believe that this category, the chilled desserts category, is growing and we believe that the Cadbury brand can expand in the category,” said Jack.
“We would hope to expand the range of Cadbury’s products produced at the site. We would like to use this acquisition as a platform to increase our presence in the sector.”
Around 80 people are employed at the site – all of which will remain in employment.
“There are around 80 employees at the site. Our objective is to grow our presence in the chilled desserts market. This is an opportunity, not only for Müller, but also for staff at the site.”
“It is a positive move for Müller and we believe it is a positive move for staff at the site. Müller’s ambition is to continue its growth in the UK market.”
'Clean end to Uniq desserts saga'
The sale of the Minsterley facility, which has previously struggled to produce profit “should mark the satisfactory and relatively clean end to the Uniq desserts saga”, said Investec analyst Nicola Mallard.
According to Mallard, the facility previously recorded turnover of £25m, but with little material profit.
Müller is, however, not worried about this.
“The history of this site goes well beyond Muller’s involvement,” added Jack.
“The focus for this acquisition is the chilled desserts operations which we have been involved in since 2004, when we entered the co-packing arrangement.”
“It is that part that we are focusing on. It is a very good facility, so what we wanted to happen was to use those assets and expand the range of products and move forward on that basis,” he concluded.