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Kerrygold Company and North Downs Dairy sign merger deal

By Guy Montague-Jones , 02-Jul-2010

Irish Dairy Board subsidiaries Kerrygold Company and North Downs Dairy are to merge their operations to create a £335m business called Adams Foods.

The merger, which is due to take effect on 3 October, will bring together some of the biggest names in hard cheese in the UK.

Pilgrims Choice, a North Downs Dairy brand, is the second biggest cheddar brand in the UK, and Kerrygold holds a 25 per cent share of the UK’s retail hard cheese market.

By merging the two subsidiaries, the Irish Dairy Board hopes to deliver the broadest range of pre-packed hard cheeses to the UK market. It sees the advantages of the move in marketing terms.

Marketing benefits

“By combining our strengths we will have unprecedented knowledge of the dairy market and category marketing,” said Alastair Jackson, who is currently MD at North Downs Dairy, but will become marketing director for Adams Foods.

Carl Ravenhall, the current MD of Kerrygold and the future MD of Adams Foods added: “Our aim is to be the most enterprising dairy marketing company in the UK.”

Although the merger is expected to deliver marketing benefits, there is not too much scope for making major operational savings.

The factory facilities of Kerrygold in Leek, Staffordshire, and that of North Downs Dairy, in Wincanton, Somerset, will both remain operational. A company spokesperson said the two sites had very different strengths and capabilities making them both valuable going forward.

Kerrygold and North Downs Dairy have both been part of the IDB for some time. Kerrygold joined in the 1970s and North Downs Dairy was acquired by IDB in 1997.

Both were part of the Irish Dairy Board group of companies, which was formally known as Adams Foods, hence the decision to name the merged entity Adams Foods.