1. ITV Report

Cornwall-based Cathedral City cheese maker Dairy Crest set for takeover by Canadian firm Saputo

Dairy Crest has been valued at £975million Photo: Press Association

West Country firm Dairy Crest, maker of Cathedral City cheddar and Country Life butter, is set to be bought by a Canadian company.

Saputo has valued Dairy Crest at around £975m, saying it was an "attractive platform" for UK growth.

Dairy Crest produces cheese at its creamery in Davidstow, near Camelford, where it employs around 200 people and spends around £150m a year buying 500 million litres of milk sourced from 330 dairy farmers across the region.

We believe that under Saputo ownership, Dairy Crest will be able to accelerate its long-term growth and business development potential and provide benefits to Dairy Crest's employees and stakeholders.

– Lino Saputo Jr, Saputo chairman and chief executive
The Dairy Crest board has recommended shareholders agree the sale Credit: ITV News

Saputo said Dairy Crest would continue to manufacture its products from its existing UK sites.

Dairy Crest's board has unanimously recommended that shareholders accept the offer.

The acquisition should enable Dairy Crest to benefit from Saputo’s global expertise and strong financial position to fulfil and accelerate its growth ambitions. The businesses have strong shared values and the board is confident that Saputo’s plans to invest in and grow the Dairy Crest business mean the proposed transaction is positive for all its stakeholders.

– Stephen Alexander, chairman of Dairy Crest

Unite is cautiously optimistic that Saputo is seeking to develop Dairy Crest’s operation in the UK over the long-term. Unite is now seeking an urgent meeting with the senior management at Saputo to receive detailed information about the company’s plans and secure assurances about employment levels and a commitment to maintaining an existing plants.

– Unite national officer for the food industry Sue Pollard