Meadow Foods buys dairy liquids company

Paine Schwartz Partners’ UK-based portfolio company’s acquisition adds about 100 local farmers to its network of suppliers.

Paine Schwartz Partners portfolio company Meadow Foods announced Tuesday it has acquired UK dairy products supplier Fayrefield Liquids.

Based in Cheshire, England, Fayrefield distributes commodity dairy products to major and independent retailers, food service outlets and the food service industry throughout the UK and Europe.

“The acquisition of Fayreville Liquid’s producers was a logical step for Meadow Foods as we have integrated our milk collections for a number of years,” Meadow Foods director of milk procurement and logistics Jim Bebb said in the statement.

Meadow Foods was established in 1992 and is the largest independent dairy business in the UK. Headquartered in the city of Chester, the company also maintains manufacturing facilities in Peterborough and Holme-on-Spalding Moor. In addition to packaged milks and creams, the company supplies butter, yogurt, cheese and other dairy products to customers in the food manufacturing, wholesale and food service industries.

Using capital from its Paine & Partners Fund IV that closed on $893 million in early 2015, Paine Schwartz’s investment in Meadow Foods came last September and was reported to constitute a 35 percent stake.

In a statement issued on the occasion of that initial investment, Meadow Foods said its partnership with Paine Schwartz was aimed at supporting the company’s expansion and acquisitions strategy. Paine Schwartz founding partner and chief executive Dexter Paine praised the company’s “well-deserved reputation for innovation and reliable delivery”.

“We see opportunities to drive growth both organically by increasing production, enhancing capabilities and expanding into new product lines and markets and through strategic acquisitions that leverage the company’s supply network and customer relationships,” Paine said.

The September release describes Meadow as drawing from a network of over 550 suppliers, while Tuesday’s statement described the network as being made up of over 650 suppliers. That statement also highlighted Meadow Foods’ recent decision to raise its milk prices slightly in light of recent signals of market strength, echoing a similar milk price increase announced last week by New Zealand’s Fonterra Co-operative Group.