Posted: 04/04/2014

Fivemiletown Creamery facing closure after sale to Irish giant

Fivemiletown Creamery cheese rangeNorthern Irish cheese-maker Fivemiletown Creamery looks set to cease production after its shareholders agreed to sell its milk to multinational firm Glanbia Ingredients Ireland (GIIL).

The deal, which is expected to cause the closure of the Co Tyrone creamery site and the loss of 50 jobs, will see Glanbia purchase Fivemiletown’s 25m litres-per-annum milk supply and its cheese brands, including cheeses like Ballyblue and Ballybrie.

Despite the sale, Fivemiletown will remain the owner of the Boilie goats’ cheese brand.

The demise of 116-year-old creamery – one of the oldest in Ireland – is said to be the result of difficult trading conditions, chiefly the loss of a major contract.

The 30-day redundancy consultation period has now begun for 50 of the creamery’s staff, according to reports from the BBC.

Northern Ireland’s Enterprise, Trade & Investment Minister Arlene Foster said: “This is an extremely worrying time for the staff at Fivemiletown Creamery and it would be hugely regrettable if the plant had to close.

“While there is good news for local farmers in that GIIL has agreed to continue to buy the existing milk supply it would also be a great shame if the Fivemiletown cheese brands were lost to Northern Ireland, as they have a strong international reputation.”

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