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Dale Farm buys Welsh cheese packing business Ash Manor Cheese

One of Northern Ireland's biggest dairy companies has bought a Welsh cheese packing business for an undisclosed sum.

Dale Farm said its purchase of Ash Manor Cheese in Wrexham will complement its operation in Cookstown which is running close to full capacity despite a recent expansion.

The North Wales operation specialises in cheese grating, slicing and packing.

Dale Farm's group chief executive, David Dobbin, said the company is targeting further growth.

"This investment in Ash Manor Cheese complements Dale Farm's recent investment in its cheese processing facilities at Dunmanbridge giving us a well-established cheese packing business with good potential for further growth."

Mr Dobbin said the business will continue to trade as Ash Manor Cheese.

The Welsh business was founded by chairman Ian Hutton, who welcomed the new owners.

"We are delighted with this deal, which makes good sense for both Ash Manor Cheese and Dale Farm. It gives Dale Farm an established outlet for its cheese and secures the long-term future of Ash Manor Cheese as part of a large and rapidly growing UK dairy business."

Along with cheese, Dale Farm has been expanding its exports of milk powder and whey to Europe and China.

Its parent company United Dairy Farmers is a farmer co-operative which buys milk from farms across Northern Ireland and also in Scotland.

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