Glanbia reveals stockpiling plans in event of no-deal Brexit

By Will Chu

- Last updated on GMT

©iStock/Evgeny Gromov
©iStock/Evgeny Gromov
The chief executive of Irish nutrition company Glanbia has revealed the firm has begun stockpiling supplies in the UK in the likely event of a no-deal Brexit.

Speaking to the Irish Times Newspaper​, Siobhan Talbot outlined her firm’s plans for March, in which Britain may leave the European Union on the 29th​ without a deal, leaving food and nutrition firms constrained in their ability to plan and export.

“For products like cheese or powders we have been making plans for some time to have that supply chain as seamless as possible,"​ said Talbot, chief executive since 2013. "We have stocks in the UK more than we would normally have."

In a podcast​ interview with the newspaper’s business editor Ciaran Hancock, Talbot also revealed the firm had also purchased extra warehouse capacity saying, "Yes, for example we have a plant in Middlesborough for our performance nutrition business.

“We have some contract manufacturing arrangements now in place, again trying to plan for the worst but hoping for the best.

“We are very much planning for a no deal at this stage, we have all the supply chain alternatives, all those pieces that one would expect but that does not mean that that would be easy and that does not mean that that wouldn’t be without its implications.”

Glanbia sports nutrition portfolio

Glanbia, a supplier of protein supplements, currently operates in 32 countries and boasts a sports nutrition brand portfolio comprising of Optimum Nutrition, BSN, Isopure, thinkThin, Nutramino, ABB amongst others.

In its half year results published in August last year, the Kilkenny-based firm made direct reference to the uncertainties surrounding Brexit commenting that, “the nature of the United Kingdom’s future trading relationship with the European Union post Brexit is still to be determined”.

“From a Group perspective this uncertainty has increased the potential risk of raw material pricing, cross border trade costs, currency volatility and product pricing which together with other economic measures will require continued focus by the internal teams established to assess and monitor any potential impacts to the Group’s performance.”

Slimfast acquisition

Moves to tap into other nutrition growth areas resulted in Glanbia’s acquisition of US brand Slimfast in a €306m ($350m) acquisition in mid-October of last year.

“SlimFast will be part of the Glanbia Performance Nutrition (GPN) segment and is a leading weight management and health & wellness brand family distributed primarily in the food, drug, mass and club channel FDMC channel in the US and UK.

“It is a well-established and growing brand with high levels of brand awareness in the US, its largest market.

“SlimFast is a good strategic fit for Glanbia as it participates in the growing €7bn ($8bn) global weight management nutrition category which is incremental to performance nutrition and fulfils a key consumer motivation for GPN’s lifestyle consumers.

Nutrition firms’ Brexit plans

Glanbia are not the only food and nutrition firm to reveal its concerns and contingency plans in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

An article in the Observer revealed that confectioner Haribo had written to its local MP, warning of the damaging effects of no deal on their UK operations based in the West Yorkshire constituency, where Haribo employ 700 people.

Fellow confectionery giant Mondelez told The Times back in September that it was shipping in ingredients early in case of a no-deal.

Unilever, owners of beverage brands Pukka Herbs, Australian tea company T2, PG Tips and Pure Leaf recently scrapped plans to move its headquarters from London to Rotterdam after major shareholders expressed their displeasure to the proposed move.

The London-based food giants insisted the move to Rotterdam had "nothing to do with Brexit".

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