Anglesey cheese plant Mona Dairy collapses into administration

Anglesey cheesemaker Mona Island Dairy has entered administration. The £27m cheese plant opened only last year with the goal of becoming one of Europe’s most sustainable and ethical cheese producers.

The company’s major shareholders spent the past fortnight trying to find a new owner for the business. Anthony Collier and Phil Reynolds of London-based FRP Advisory have now been appointed as joint administrators.

In a statement, they said they were “currently exploring options” for the cutting-edge plant on Mona Industrial Park, Gwalchmai. They also pledged to “be in contact with all known creditors in due course”.

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Mona Island Dairy has said its main priority is to secure the future of its 31 farmer-suppliers. Cheshire-based dairy processor Meadow had agreed to buy the company’s incoming milk on a temporary basis. With Mona Dairy now in administration, a meeting for suppliers, to discuss options, has been arranged in Chester on Tuesday, June 11 – for more details, email hello@conceptdairy.com.

The dairy also employs 24 staff, who were kept on while the company sought a new buyer. Ynys Môn MS Rhun ap Iorwerth said they, like the farmer-suppliers, were feeling "let down" by what's happened.

He said: “I’m sad to hear about the news that Mona Dairy has been put into administration. This is an incredibly difficult time for milk suppliers, many of whom I’ve been in contact with in recent weeks, and I know they feel let down by this whole situation, as do the staff.

“We must now try to get to the bottom of what’s gone wrong here and explore all possible options for reviving and supporting the business. I’ve already written to Welsh Government, asking them about how they intend to intervene, but I’m yet to receive a reply.

"I will continue to make enquiries with urgency and provide any updates as soon as possible. In the meantime, I encourage anyone affected by this news and needing support to contact my office.” North Wales Live has a WhatsApp community group where you can get the latest stories delivered straight to your phone

Administrator and partner at FRP, Anthony Collier, said staff have been made redundant already. He said: "Mona Island Dairy has a compelling proposition with its modern, sustainable facilities.

"Unfortunately, it's not been able to raise the funding needed to continue operating and so sadly 24 employees have been made redundant and we are helping them to access support from the Redundancy Payments Service. We are now focussed on finding a solution for the business and invite any interested parties to come forward."

When the 5,000 sq ft facility cheese plant opened in early 2023, its ambition was to run solely on renewable energy while operating a fleet of electric milk tankers. Main shareholders were co-founder and chair David Wynne-Finch, a dairy farmer from Pentrefoelas in Conwy, and CEO and industry veteran Ronald Akkerman. Mr Akkerman's thoughts on the dairy's difficulties can be found here.

According to The Grocer, the business was funded through private investment, loans and a £3m Welsh Government grant. It cited a source close to the business in claiming some £40m had already been spent on running the facility. A further £10m was needed this year to maintain cashflow but this hadn’t been forthcoming, it added.

The Farmers Union of Wales (FUW) had also called on the Welsh Government to step in. After news broke of the plant’s problems, Brian Walters, chair of the union’s milk and dairy produce committee, said: "We hope that as a result of a weak spring flush and an improving dairy commodities market, other milk processors will be in a favourable position to support milk producers currently supplying Mona Dairy.

“However, for a more permanent resolution, it is hoped that a new buyer could be sought to take advantage of these innovative facilities at the site on Ynys Môn. Given the sustainability credentials and economic opportunity that Mona Dairy has to offer, we call on the Welsh Government for support in facilitating a positive outcome for the business.” Sign up for the North Wales Live newsletter sent twice daily to your inbox

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