Arla trades in 120 countries, with production facilities in Denmark, the UK, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Poland and Norway, and operates through export markets, trading through wholly owned subsidiaries in 22 countries.
The UK division employs 1945 people and is responsible for the sales, marketing and distribution of all dairy products and the production of liquid milk and fresh products in the UK.
In addition, the division operates a small production of speciality cheeses at the cheese sourcing company, HT Webb & Co, which Arla acquired in November last year.
Arla Foods brands include: Lurpak, Anchor, Gulp!, Cravendale PurFiltre and Harmonie Organic.
The company can trace its roots back to 1970, when The Dairy Company Denmark was established. In 1975, a restructuring in Sweden led to the formation of Arla.
In 1988, The Dairy Company Denmark changed its name to MD Foods and two years later it bought AFF, the UK's fifth-biggest dairy.
In 1995, MD Foods and Arla began a period of collaboration, which led to their merger to form Arla Foods in 2000.
In May this year, Arla hired brand agency Enterprise IG to create a brand identity and packaging for its Discover range of cheeses.
A month later Arla handed the advertising for its Anchor butter brand to Clemmow Hornby Inge, with a brief to reinforce the brand as a traditional, but healthy, product, and also capture market share from Flora and Unilever Bestfoods.
Also in June, the Competition Commission approved the acquisition of Express Dairies by the UK arm of Arla Foods. The deal was announced in March 2003 and was automatically referred to the European competition authorities because of the scale of Arla's operations. The UK Competition Commission began its investigation into the purchase in July 2003.
The merger made it the UK's leading supplier of dairy products with a combined turnover of DKK15bn (£1.39bn).
Group turnover DKK39,441m
Pre tax profits DKK1,206m
(Year to September 29 2002)
Clemmow Hornby Inge, BMP DDB
Sales promotion agencies
Geoff Howe Marketing, Odyssey Promotion & Design
Adspend (year to August 2003)
Source: ACNielsen MMS
Hanne Sondergaard, UK marketing director
Craven House, 87 Kirkstall Road, Leeds, LS3 1JE
Tel: 0113 244 0141
Web site: www.arlafoods.co.uk
This article was first published on Marketing