Ornua sells majority stake in US food business DPI

Former Irish Dairy Board understood to have made €30m gain on sale

Ornua, formerly the Irish Dairy Board, has sold a majority stake in its US speciality foods distribution business DPI for an undisclosed sum.

California-based DPI Speciality Foods, which sells gourmet, ethnic and organic foods to retailers, quick service restaurants and foodservice operators, through eight distribution centres across the US, is to be acquired by Chicago-headquartered Arbor Investments. The transaction closed on Monday last.

Industry sources said the disposal of the 80 per cent stake is thought to have resulted in a gain of €30 million for Ornua.

The group, which owns the Kerrygold and Dubliner Cheese brands, is to retain a minority equity interest in the company and DPI's existing senior management will continue to lead the organisation.


With approximately 1,800 employees and annual revenues in excess of $1 billion, DPI is one of the largest specialty food distributors in the US.

"The sale of a majority stake in DPI allows us reinvest the significant proceeds in our core business of building routes to market for Irish dairy products," said Ornua chief executive Kevin Lane.

Ornua, which has annualised sales of over €2 billion, announced the opening of a new Kerrygold factory in Lagos, Nigeria last week in a move which strengthens its foothold in the African market. It is just one of a number of major new investments made this year.

The group is responsible for about 60 per cent of Ireland’s dairy exports to over 110 countries.

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist