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Jolliffes has completed the multi-million pound sale of Cheshire cheesemaker FJ Need (Foods) to the owner of the Kerrygold brand.

FJ Need (Foods), which was founded by John Need in 1973, has signed an agreement to be acquired by Ornua for an undisclosed sum. The family-run business includes a cheese cutting, grating and slicing facility, two cheese brands and the distribution fleet.

Nantwich-based FJ Need, which owns the Spinneyfields brand, 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. Ornua believes that there is significant potential to expand this capacity to take advantage of the growing foodservice market for cheese ingredients both in the UK and international markets.

This potential to expand into new sectors, including leveraging Ornua’s existing export routes to market, is a key benefit of the transaction identified by the buyer. Legal firm Jolliffe & Co LLP advised the sellers. Simon Williams, Partner and Head of Corporate and Commercial for Jolliffe & Co LLP, led the Jolliffes team and was assisted by Chantel Clague, Tom Newman, and legal tax specialist William Ngan who joined the Jolliffes commercial team in November.

The transaction also involved Huw Thomas and Joe Fletcher-Hunt from the commercial property team and Head of Employment Elizabeth Judson. Simon Williams commented; “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.” Paul Need, Managing Director of FJ Need added; “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.”