Arla to transform Volac’s Wales site into global production hub

By Bethan Grylls

- Last updated on GMT

Arla Food Ingredients acquires Volac's Whey Nutrition division business
Arla Food Ingredients acquires Volac's Whey Nutrition division business

Related tags Investment Mergers and acquisitions Health

Arla Food Ingredients has acquired Volac’s Whey Nutrition business, with big plans to turn its Felinfach site in Wales into global centre for performance, health and food offerings.

Arla Food Ingredients has acquired the company’s Whey Nutrition division through a purchase of the shares in Volac Whey Nutrition Holdings Limited and its subsidiaries, Volac Whey Nutrition Limited and Volac Renewable Energy Limited.

The Volac group specialises in turning whey into ingredients for sports nutrition, with by-products sold for food and animal nutrition. Its Whey Nutrition portfolio includes the Volactive range; while Arla Foods Ingredients’ solutions comprise the Lacprodan range, designed for sports nutrition applications, including RTDs, powder shakes and protein bars.  

The purchase of these shares follows Arla Food Ingredients’ recent take over of MV Ingredients, which produced products sold by and to Volac.

At the time, Arla Food Ingredients’ CEO, Henrick Andersen, made the business’ intentions for whey expansion clear.  

“Arla Foods Ingredients is actively looking for more whey to continue our journey to discover and deliver powerful nutrition for a stronger tomorrow,”​ he said.

On this latest acquisition, Luis Cubel, group vice president and managing director of Arla Foods Ingredients, said: “This brings together two complementary offerings in a growing and increasingly international space for whey products. Volac is a pioneer in the use of whey protein for performance nutrition and has a wealth of expertise as well as an incredibly talented team. It shares our commitment.”

Commenting, joint owner of Volac, James Neville, added: “Whey processing started at the Felinfach site more than three decades ago, and we couldn’t be prouder of everything that’s been achieved by everyone involved in the business since then.

“When considering the future of Volac Whey Nutrition and the opportunities that lie ahead for that business, it was crucial for us to choose a partner with the right values and expertise. Arla Foods Ingredients has the ambition and the knowledge to take the business to the next level.”

Arla’s two acquisition of Volac assets, has been sandwiched between another acquisition from Dutch-based Denkavit Group, which purchased Volac’s Milk Replacer business.

Volac’s whey market success

In 2021, while sales grew, Volac saw its pre-tax profit down as a result of its own acquisitions, expansions and consequent increased admin costs.

The following year (2022), its pre-tax profit rose by £8.3m, reaching £34.8m; and its sales were up by 37% at £382.8m, with whey in the driver’s seat.

Neville described it as “an unusually successful year”​ for its whey division.

“We were able to grow our Whey Protein sales volumes and make maximum utilisation of our recent, significant investments at our Felinfach site,” ​he added.

Overall, the global sports nutrition industry has grown at a CAGR of 9% since 2010. By 2028, it is anticipated it’ll be worth $42.2bn, up from $28.1bn in 2023.

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