Synlait's move into cheese market complete with purchase of Talbot Forest Cheese

Synlait CEO Leon Clement said the acquisition enables the company to manufacture a variety of cheese products.
Synlait CEO Leon Clement said the acquisition enables the company to manufacture a variety of cheese products. Photo credit: Supplied

A move into the cheese market is complete for Canterbury milk company Synlait, with the purchase of Talbot Forest Cheese assets confirmed. 

The company made the conditional purchase of the cheese factory last year acquiring assets, including property, plant and equipment at its new Temuka site.

Under the deal,  Synlait assumes management and operational control of Talbot Forest Cheese as of Friday, with Talbot Forest Cheese employees staying on under the new ownership.

Synlait CEO Leon Clement said the acquisition enables the company to manufacture a variety of cheese products.

"It also helps us optimise our manufacturing assets (especially during peak seasonal flows), access new profit pools, and align with our approach to run a high-quality, flexible dairy manufacturing plant that enables us to tailor products to meet customer needs, " he said.

Andrew Bull has been appointed as General Manager of Talbot Forest Cheese, and he paid tribute to the former owners.

"Paul Fitzsimons, founder of Talbot Forest Cheese, and his team have created a legacy that I feel extremely privileged to be leading. We have talented staff, world-class assets and award-winning cheeses that provide a strong foundation for growth in both the speciality and foodservice sectors," he said.

Bull said Synlait planned to produce around 5,000 tonnes of cheese during the 2019/2020 season.

"Our highly automated plant is capable of manufacturing both dry and brine salted products, including parmesan, cheddar, gouda and mozzarella for both retail and foodservice customers. In addition, we have retained the ability to make open vat cheeses such as halloumi and feta, which are extremely popular."

The products, along with ingredient cheeses made to customer specifications, would be sold to the local and international wholesale markets.

The sale price was expected to be in the range of $30 to $40 million.

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