Production has got underway again at Rowan Glen factory in Dumfries & Galloway, after a successful management buy-out was agreed upon.
A total of 10 jobs have been created following the buy-out by new company Rowan Glen Limited, after successful negotiations with previous owners of the Palnure site, Dale Farm Group.
The deal includes the purchase of the yoghurt production plant near Newton Stewart, and rights to the Rowan Glen brand – one of the top 25 take-home food and drink brands in Scotland.
Production is now underway, with the new company aiming to increase its workforce to 25 by end of this year, with the target of employing 45 people by its fifth year.
The site was previously under the ownership of Dale Farm Group, who announced in September 2022 a review of its UK operations including the proposed closure of the Palnure factory. This review concluded with a decision to close the factory and cease operations at the end of October 2022, with staff being made redundant on 12 November 2022.
The buy-out has been supported by South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE), through a £285,000 grant as well as extensive guidance provided during the negotiations.
Rowan Glen Ltd Managing Director Alan Baxter said:
“Having worked at Rowan Glen over two stints spanning 17 years, I am very passionate about the Rowan Glen people, brand, products and factory.
“Whilst the strategic decision of Dale Farm was understandable, at a high level, I could only see the opportunity at a local level to re-start the Rowan Glen brand and operations to once again supply our fantastic products to our loyal customers.
“Gearing up for a re-start has been very challenging and rewarding and I have a lot of people to thank along the way, none more so than the core team at Rowan Glen.
“The staff at South of Scotland Enterprise have supported this process and have guided me well at the various stages.
“The Dale Farm Team have also supported the process with a phased transition giving the new company the best possible start.
“There is a lot to do and a long way to go, however the team at Rowan Glen over the years have been very committed and loyal and by taking this on there will once again be an opportunity for local employment within the new company of Rowan Glen Limited. We will start small and grow quickly.”
Jane Morrison-Ross, Chief Executive of SOSE, added:
“I am delighted the Rowan Glen buy-out has been concluded, following a number of months of extensive discussions.
“It has been a difficult period for all involved at Rowan Glen but SOSE and our partners have been committed to helping find a solution through providing support to the negotiations and now a significant grant to assist with the purchase of the site.”
Professor Russel Griggs, Chair of SOSE, said:
“As the region’s economic and community development agency, we recognised the importance of production and jobs being maintained in this key sector and rural area of Dumfries and Galloway.
“I thank my colleagues at SOSE for their hard work supporting the buy-out as well as Dale Farm Group for their assistance, and look forward to seeing Rowan Glen Limited grow in the coming months and years.”
Business Minister Ivan McKee said:
“I am pleased that a future has been secured for both the Palnure site and the Rowan Glen brand through the management buy-out.
“This successful outcome is testament to the hard work of all those involved and has ensured that a number of jobs have been restored. It is also encouraging to hear the new company has ambitions for future growth to create further jobs in the region.”