Creamery safe; Dairy Farmers of Britain deal secures 200 jobs.
MORE than 200 jobs were yesterday safeguarded, as a major North Wales creamery business was sold as part of a pounds 75m deal.
Associated Co-operative Creameries has been bought by Dairy Farmers of Britain.
The Co-operative Group, owner of ACC, yesterday said it has sold the company, including its creamery at Llandyrnog, Denbigh.
The sale met with a cautious welcome from farming and union leaders, who said the deal brought to an end months of uncertainty.
ACC, which employs 200 in North Wales, is the UK's fourth largest dairy business, producing the leading Welsh Cadog brand of cheese.
The new owners, a milk co-op owned by 3, 250 dairy farmers, say farmers will get new markets for dairy products, plus a sustainable price for milk.
At 1. 3 billion litres, DFB will be the UK's third largest milk processor, and will have nearly 700 farmer members in Wales.
DFB chief executive Malcolm Smith said: ``This is an historic day for everyone.
``The acquisition marks a huge step towards fulfilling our ambitious growth plans, and that means great news for our customers, employees and farmers in Wales. '' Co-operative Group chief executive Martin Beaumont said: ``The dairy industry has gone through significant change in recent years and consolidation has resulted in fewer and bigger players.
``The sale of ACC to Dairy Farmers of Britain is a marriage of two successful cooperative enterprises, which creates a major new force in this competitive market sector.
``It can only be good news for members, employees, customers and consumers alike. ''
Sharon Ainsworth, national officer for the trade union Usdaw with responsibility for ACC, said the deal brought to an end months of uncertainty. ``We are pleased that the new owners are Dairy Farmers of Britain as we feel they offer the best prospects for job security, '' she said.
``The company has plans for growth and investment and Usdaw has also been given assurances that they are committed to working with the union. ''
Dai Davies, vice-president of NFU Cymru, said the union had always called for dairy cooperatives to become more involved in the processing side of the industry.
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