A strategic review of the Müller Milk & Ingredients network of milk processing facilities is recommending the closure of dairies in Aberdeen and East Kilbride, with investment in the company’s Glasgow plant to increase capacity. The company completed its acquisition of the Dairy Crest liquid milk business in December last year.
Müller has announced a 45 day statutory consultation over the potential winding down of milk processing at its smaller Aberdeen and East Kilbride dairies, the latter the original base of the Robert Wiseman Dairies business acquired in 2012. It says that both dairies are operating well below their full potential, with Aberdeen running at only 40% capacity.
The plan involves a £15 million investment over the next three years at Bellshill near Glasgow, Scotland’s largest fresh milk dairy, a greenfield development by Robert Wiseman in 1988, and close to the M8 motorway. The new expenditure will help improve efficiency and competitiveness, while broadening the range of products made.
In the event of closure, the 43 dairy farmers supplying the Aberdeen plant would be offered the opportunity to continue supplying Müller’s Bellshill dairy, subject to an additional 1.75 pence per litre transport charge.
“It is important to stress that the status quo is just not viable in the medium term,” says Andrew McInnes, managing director of Müller Milk & Ingredients. “Our Scottish dairies are inefficient and costly, which is putting a brake on the innovation and investment needed to stimulate new demand for dairy products.
“Our Aberdeen dairy is operating at less than 40% of its capacity and milk production from farmers in the North East is far in excess of customer requirements in the area. Our small dairy in East Kilbride makes products including flavoured milks and potted cream and we believe that we can gain important efficiencies by relocating that production to nearby Bellshill.
“We aim to reinvigorate our fresh milk and ingredients business in Scotland and propose to invest to make Bellshill a centre of excellence for dairy, benefitting consumers, customers, employees and farmers.”