First Milk acquires Fonterra’s stake in whey protein joint venture

UK – The New Zealand dairy corporative, Fonterra has agreed to offload its 51% stake in the Fast Forward joint venture with British dairy cooperative First Milk.

First Milk which supplies milk, cheese and other dairy products to UK customers will become the sole owner of the whey protein concentrate manufacturing facilities based at the joint venture’s Lake District creamery in the UK.

The two farmer co-operatives formed the joint venture in 2011, combining expertise to add value to the dairy protein streams at First Milk’s Lake District creamery in Cumbria, England.

The joint venture would focus on producing premium whey proteins for Fonterra’s growing food ingredients business.

The First Milk Lake District creamery produces premium whey protein used in Fonterra’s functional and cultured nutrition ingredients like PowerProtein and ElevateProtein, based on Whey Protein 80% ingredients (WPC80).

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The move aligns with Fonterra’s recent strategic review of its businesses as a way to drive profits after reporting a net loss of NZD 196 million (US$128.5 million) in the year ended July 2018, its first annual loss since its inception.

According to CEO Miles Hurrell, the company would be ‘prioritising our New Zealand milk supply and simplifying our global portfolio’.

Meanwhile, First Milk has also confirmed a new strategic partnership with Netherlands-based Havero Hoogwegt for global sales and distribution of whey protein concentrate (WPC80).

Part of the Hoogwegt Group, Havero Hoogwegt is a global specialist in dairy proteins, supplying proteins to over 50 countries.

The firm which is also one of the world’s largest privately-owned dairy ingredients provider has been an existing First Milk partner.

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“The added value protein market continues to grow with applications for high-quality whey products, such as WPC80, in the expanding sports nutrition and functional foods categories,” said Shelagh Hancock, Chief Executive First Milk.

“We are delighted to take over full ownership of our well-invested whey processing facility at our Lake District Creamery and to confirm our new sales and distribution partnership with Havero Hoogwegt.

“Backed by their unique global network and team of commercial, technical and logistics experts, I am confident they are well-placed to maximise the market potential of our WPC80 production for mutual benefit.”

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