Fivemiletown Creamery sold and 50 jobs likely to be lost
One of Ireland's oldest creameries, Fivemiletown, has been sold - and 50 jobs are likely to be lost as a result.
Shareholders have decided to sell the Co Tyrone company to Glanbia Ingredients Ireland, which is based in the Republic after late night negotiations.
Glanbia will buy Fivemiletown cheeses and the milk pool, which effectively ends processing in the town.
In a statement, the board of directors said they regretted the likely closure of the plant and the resulting loss of jobs.
DUP MEP Diane Dodds said: My sympathies are with those families who now face a very uncertain future.
"Fivemiletown Creamery has been a good employer in the area and is a long-established business.
"Fivemiletown cheese is also a very strong brand and it is particularly disappointing that this brand could be lost."
The company previously admitted difficult trading conditions, losses over a period and "issues around the milk pool".
It saw record sales in 2011 and its history goes back to 1898, when Fellonburg Montgomery and Sir Arthur Douglas Brooke merged their two farming cooperatives, Fivemiletown and Brookeborough.
But while it has its roots in the 19th century, Fivemiletown had been breaking new ground in the cheese industry.
The company started off, like many co-ops in pre-war days, as a collection point for milk, moving into butter manufacture in 1947. After the war the company went into bottling milk.
In 1996 this interest was sold to Bangor Dairies and cheesemaking began in the late 1960s, continuing into the present day on the site of an old Methodist church.
Cheese is now the only product made, although byproducts such as cream are sold to industrial producers.
In recent years the creamery has won a raft of awards - as well as important contracts that saw its products fill the shelves of all the main supermarkets.
Managing director Mervyn McCaughey told the Belfast Telegraph in 2010: "We haven't seen any signs of the recession in our business. We’re always adding new customers, new consumers."
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