Global nutrition group, Glanbia, is expanding its business in the US with the acquisition of Watson, a non-dairy ingredient solutions business.
It has bought the company, which is headquartered in Connecticut, for $89 million.
CEO Siobhán Talbot said she was excited to announced that Glanbia had signed the US deal. Glanbia Nutritionals is a global organisation, with strong ingredient capability, spanning both dairy and non-dairy. Watson provides products into the bakery, nutritional and the general food sector, and complements Glanbia. "We are delighted to welcome all of that team into the Glanbia organisation," she said.
Glanbia's overall PLC exposure to the UK is quite small, around 3% of revenue, but the company is conscious of the potential impact on its joint ventures, Glanbia Ireland and Glanbia Cheese, which are more exposed.
Ms Talbot said the company is not complacent about current events. "The critical piece around Brexit for ourselves is the question of whether it will be a transitioned exit or an immediate withdrawal, so we have a team working across that is planning as best we can for the uncertainty that has been really difficult for business. That planning takes a number of different areas. It includes increasing our stocks both in the UK, and indeed in certain instances in Europe."
Glanbia has "very ambitious" plans for its dairy-based business in Ireland. The company is the largest cheese processor in Ireland, and the largest cheddar cheese producer in the world. It recently announced plans to open a €130 million mozzarella cheese facility in Portlaoise, in a joint venture with Royal A-Ware.
Diversifying will help shelter Glanbia from the impact of Brexit. "Of course, part of our overall portfolio as an organisation and our ambition is to diversify, so to the extent that that diversifies our offering in cheese, absolutely, it allows us not be dependent on any market," she said.
"We have great business in mozarella, we are a leading player in Europe, so we were always thinking of a third facility, and a European facility in the context of recent events."
Glanbia had a strong finish to its financial year. Consumer trends in nutritious and healthy food remain positive for the company.
"We are really appealing to a lot of global consumers now who want to purchase nutritious, healthy food, and they like them in our convenient formats, and they like the fact that they can buy them in accessible retail channels, buying them online or indeed in stores," Ms Talbot said.