Cheshire cheesemaker sold in multi-million pound deal

Cheshire cheesemaker FJ Need (Foods) has been sold to owner of the Kerrygold brand in a multi-million pound deal.

Nantwich-based FJ Need, which owns the Spinneyfields brand, has signed an agreement to be acquired by Ornua for an undisclosed sum.

The family-run business, launched by John Need in 1973, includes a cheese cutting, grating and slicing facility, two chees brands and its distribution fleet.

It supplies dairy products such as grated cheese, diced cheese, sliced cheese, block cheese, speciality cheese, butter and yoghurt to the manufacturing, foodservice and wholesale sectors. Its cheese production facility currently produces 16,000 tonnes per year.

Ornua, the Dublin-headquartered owner of brands such as Kerrygold, Shannongold and Pilgrims Choice, has supplied Irish cheese to FJ Need for many years and the acquisition is expected to strengthen this important supply channel.

Most update accounts for FJ Need – the year ended February, 2016 – show the company’s turnover was nearly £38.8m with pre-tax profits of £452,267.

Legal firm Jolliffe & Co advised the FJ Need. Simon Williams, partner and head of corporate and commercial for the company, led the Jolliffes team.

Paul Need, managing director of FJ Need, said: “Jolliffes really helped us through the whole process to make it as easy as possible and anticipate the best options for us.

“They worked through some complex issues, especially as it was an international sale. I would like to thank the team for all their hard work, late nights and dedication to getting the best deal for us from a number of options.

“It was important to us that they understood the nature of our business and that we are a true family firm. Jolliffes did, they became part of our team.”

Kevin Lane, chief executive of Ornua, said; “We are buying an excellent family dairy business which allows us to significantly strengthen our presence in the UK ingredients sector.

“The complementary nature of our customer bases and the potential to further scale the business makes this a strong fit for Ornua. We are looking forward to working to grow the business in the coming years.”

Williams added: “This was a fantastic transaction for FJ Need and was extremely complex in certain areas.

“We worked around the clock for a number of weeks to ensure the transaction got over the line successfully and within very tight timescales. This is another example of the type of quality transaction that Jolliffes carries out. We are delighted for Paul and Tracey Need and wish them every success.”

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