Fresh start for dairy brand

By Dairy News

The Kiewa Country brand has a new owner after Murray Goulburn sold it to Kyabram dairy company Kyvalley Dairy Group.

The agreement will see the Kiewa Country brand re-launched, after it was closed down in July as part of Murray Goulburn’s staged closure of its Kiewa factory.

But the negotiations were not without a hiccup; Kyvalley Dairy was forced to say ‘yes’ twice after Murray Goulburn received a superior offer.

“What happened was they (Murray Goulburn) announced they were closing down three plants and not long after that, a week or so, Murray Goulburn called offering the brand for sale,” Kyvalley Dairy director Wayne Mulcahy said.

“We thought about it for a day or so in June and submitted an offer and we were told we were successful which was really good.

“The other party couldn’t proceed and we were asked ‘were we still interested?’ and yes we were. On the original timeline the deal would have been done while they were still producing in mid-July.”

Mr Mulcahy said the next step was to talk to Kiewa locals to see if there was enough interest to make the brand profitable.

“Our plan now is we are sending people up to Kiewa to meet all Murray Goulburn distributors in the next few weeks and introduce ourselves,” he said.

“Our view is to meet and discuss with potential customers and explain who we are and find the support for re-launching the brand. If there’s enough interest we’d send it up to that region.”

Despite Murray Goulburn struggling, this did not put off the Kyabram company from purchasing a brand that produced low fat, full cream and skim milks, a flavoured milk range and thickened cream.

“There are a couple of reasons (why we bought it),” Mr Mulcahy said.

“One is because we live and work in northern Victoria. It’s a northern region brand and the opportunity to purchase was a once-only opportunity, so it made sense to buy it. The second part is we are rapidly growing and this will lead to more staff and work in the region.

“We thought we could do something positive in the dairy industry in the face of Murray Goulburn. It will be good for the farming community and good for northern Victoria.”

The Kyabram business is set to get most of its extra milk intake from the local area but has had suppliers from the Kiewa Valley express interest.