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Graham’s The Family Dairy acquires Claymore Dairies

Graham’s The Family Dairy, Scotland’s leading independent dairy company has today (22 September) announced it has agreed to buy Claymore Dairies, one of Nairn’s largest private employers for an undisclosed sum.  Situated on the main thoroughfare between Inverness and Aberdeen, Claymore Dairies is a modern purpose built processing and distribution dairy that was opened by Princess Anne.

This is Graham’s 25th acquisition in recent years and will take the company through its £50m turnover.

The dairy at Balmakeith – which produces Highland Fresh – employs 70 staff.  Other staff are located at its distribution depots in Dingwall, Fort William and Wick.

The Graham family have historical roots in the area which they were keen to re-establish.  Graham’s chairman Dr Robert Graham is the son on the original founder.  Dr Robert’s mother was from Caithness which is where the family spent most of their childhood holidays.

The area has a strong dairy farming heritage and as farmers themselves the Graham’s were determined to maintain a farming presence.  They will now work with a number of dairy farmers located throughout the Highlands and will invest time in establishing themselves within the community.

Bridge of Allan-based, Graham’s The Family Dairy, managing director Robert Graham said:  “Claymore Dairies is a good business with excellent processing facilities.  The dairy and its employees will become an immediate part of the Graham’s family business and will bring our team to over 400. 

“It’s fantastic to return to some old family roots and my father has been passionately involved during this process.  This will be Graham’s most northerly location and will give us not only more capacity but additional flexibility to our customer offering.  We will bring more than 70 years’ experience to the community and hope our investment will help the business flourish again.

“Graham’s has always taken a long term view with business planning.   As farmers ourselves, it’s been crucial to support the farmers we work with throughout Scotland to protect their businesses while they support ours.  We look forward to establishing new working friendships with those in the Highlands.”

Ian Larg, managing director of Claymore Dairies, added: “Since the buyout, we have had several meetings with the Graham’s. During that period, it has become increasingly clear that there would be significant benefits by putting the businesses together. Graham’s diversity and greater market position will be a major benefit to Claymore going forward.  This will lead to greater security for the dairy, its staff and supplying dairy farmers.

“When we did the buyout, our aim was to preserve as many jobs as possible and keep the dairy in production. Collectively with our staff, we have successfully expanded the business. We now look forward to working together in the future as part of the Graham’s team at this exciting next stage of development for the enlarged business.”

Graham’s prides itself with its award-winning product lines and continual innovation.  Its product range now extends to branded and own-label organic and conventional milk, butters, creams, Graham’s Gold Jersey products as well as vanilla and flavoured ice-cream.

Since launching organic milk in 2005, Graham’s organic skimmed, semi-skimmed and whole milk portfolio has grown to be worth more than £4m to the business and account for 15 per cent of all milk sales by Graham’s The Family Dairy.  Graham’s proudly launched the UK’s first 1% fat organic milk earlier this year, which is available across the UK via Sainsbury’s, in response to their discerning consumers growing appetite for its organic portfolio.

It’s luxurious and indulgent, creamy range of Jersey products, Graham’s Gold was the first Graham’s branded dairy product in its 71 year history to be distributed south of the border and can be now be found nationally through Sainsbury’s stores. 

Graham’s also produces a range of delicious dairy, organic and Jersey vanilla and family favourite flavoured ice creams which are available through Scottish Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Asda stores.   Graham’s Gold vanilla ice cream was voted ‘best in category’ at the 2009 Royal Highland Show and the vanilla ice-cream range was named by Sainsbury’s as its ‘Best Product Launch in Frozen Category.’

The dairy is currently undertaking a major investment programme for expanding its butter plant in Bridge of Allan and will be launching new product lines during 2011.  Its butter range most recently scooped an unprecedented five gold accolades at this year’s Royal Highland Show, including overall championship butter for Graham’s slightly salted. 

Graham’s now supplies ASDA, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Somerfield, Waitrose and Lidl with a number of products.  Sainsbury’s remains Graham’s largest customer, including the provision to supply all of the supermarket’s own-label organic milk and Scottish cream.