In a surprise move Strathroy Dairies, one of Ireland’s oldest family dairies and a supplier of liquid milk to retailers throughout Ireland, has confirmed an interest in purchasing Wexford Creamery.

In a statement this afternoon, the Tyrone-based processor said local farmers and milk producers have indicated that they would welcome this interest from Strathroy Dairies, and following an assessment of the creamery and its potential, the company believes that it is a worthwhile investment.

In the statement Ruairi Cunningham, managing director of Strathroy Dairies, said that the support of the local farmers and milk producers, matched with the potential for growth, were two of the key attractions in Wexford Creamery.

“We are calling on Board of Wexford Creamery to open discussions with Strathroy Diaries, prior to any decision from the Competition Authority in relation to the possible purchase by Glanbia Ingredients Ireland.”

Speaking further to AgriLand, Cunningham stressed that it was very serious regarding its interest in the possible purchase.

Strathroy supplies fresh dairy produce sourced directly from Irish farms. It has more than 250 suppliers based in Limerick, Galway, Sligo, Donegal, Omagh, Cavan and Dublin.

“With our discussions on the ground in Wexford, there is a lot of disgruntlement and unease with the deal that is being proposed by Glanbia. We are confident we can come up with suitable proposals and achieve at least 40 per cent of milk volume if not more.”

With regard to the details of the offer, in particular for Wexford Creamery suppliers, the Strathroy Diaries MD said it would not go public with specifics until it is discussed with the board of Wexford Creamery.

“We are genuine and very serious with this. We could improve on Glanbia’s proposal and now we need to get the interest of Wexford Milk Purchasers in conjunction with the board. We are waiting for an invitation to met them.”

Pressed on the issue of financing the offer, Cunningham stressed it has no issues on that front. “We are confident we can strike a deal.”

Wexford Creamery has declined to comment on the latest developments.

Speaking to AgriLand, its managing director Frank Ronan said it had no comment to make at this time.

Earlier this month, Wexford milk producers voted to sell their processing plants and milk pool to Glanbia Ingredients Ireland, 57 per cent in favour 43 per cent against by 326 co-op members.

In total Glanbia has agreed to pay €20m, of which €3.7m is in cash. €3m is required to purchase the remaining 30 per cent of Wexford Creamery from Dairycrest.

The transaction is set for the Competition Authority and the deal is expected to close mid-February. In addition shareholders are set to sign-up to new milk supply agreements.

Glanbia also declined to comment on the latest developments.

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