Dairy cooperative Ornua has completed the acquisition of US cheese ingredients business, Whitehall Specialities for an undisclosed sum from Mason Wells, a private equity firm based in Wisconsin.

Ornua said the acquisition complements its US Ingredients division, Ornua Ingredients North America (OINA).

The deal is central to the co-op's long-term growth strategy in the US cheese ingredients market, it added.

OINA provides customised functional cheese solutions for US food manufacturing and foodservice customers.

Ornua said today's deal "significantly" increases OINA's current position in the US cheese ingredients market expanding its production footprint across six well-invested facilities in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania.

Ornua chief executive John Jordan said that Ornua Ingredients North America is a core part of the Ornua business, delivering strong growth over the last ten years.

"By bringing together two market leaders, in complementary parts of the ingredients sector, we are creating a powerful partnership that builds a strong foundation for a long-term, sustainable future," the CEO said.

"Our combined business is centred around creating and maintaining long-term partnerships with our customers through innovation, best-in-class technical expertise and a true spirit of collaboration," he added.

Ornua is the country's biggest purchaser of Irish dairy products, exporting to 110 countries worldwide.

Headquartered in Dublin, it has annualised sales of over €2.3 billion and a global team of 2,400 employees.

It operates from 10 business units worldwide, including 12 production facilities, and has sales and marketing teams working all over the world