Shaftesbury-based BV Dairy sold to First Milk

THE BV Dairy has been sold.

The Highnam family, which has run the dairy for generations, has been bought by First Milk – a co-operative business owned by British family farms.

BV Dairy manufactures specialist chilled dairy products at its base in Shaftesbury, with customers across the UK.

The foundations of the company were formed in Somerset in the 1930s, before Highnam’s Dairy evolved into BV Dairy in 2001 after purchasing farms and the Gillingham Dairies firm.

The final family member to be managing director of the company, Jim Highnam, said after the sale was confirmed: “Having made the decision to sell the business, we wanted to ensure that the new owners would provide a secure future for our customers, colleagues, farmers and suppliers.

“As such, I’m pleased to finalise this transaction and see BV Dairy become part of First Milk, as both businesses share a down-to-earth, pragmatic approach, balancing the needs of all stakeholders.

“I look forward to working with our new First Milk colleagues to continue to grow and develop BV Dairy.”

Shelagh Hancock, chief executive of First Milk, said: “I am delighted to complete the acquisition of BV Dairy, a successful family-owned business, which shares many common values with First Milk – a focus on people and community, environmental performance, exceptional quality and long-term value creation.

“We look forward to welcoming the wider BV Dairy family into our First Milk family.

“The BV Dairy business has strong customer relationships and a reputation for quality and service across food manufacture and food service.

“This provides a genuine extension to our business, extending our manufacturing and market reach, offering a platform for the further growth and development of our business.”

Farmer director and vice-chairman, Mike Smith, added: “This purchase builds on the existing strengths of First Milk and will bring wider benefits, adding value for our members while creating opportunities for our colleagues and enabling us to extend our regenerative positioning into a broader range of dairy products and customers.

“This is a great step forward as we work together to secure the future.”

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I am the editor in chief of Blackmore Vale media, which includes the New Blackmore Vale, New Stour & Avon, Salisbury & Avon Gazette and the Purbeck Gazette, having been a reporter for some 20 years. In my spare time, I am a festival lover, with a particular focus on Glastonbury. I live in Somerset with my wife and two children.