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Robert Wiseman Dairies
Type Public (LSE: RWD)
Founded 1947
Headquarters East Kilbride, Scotland, UK
Key people Alan Wiseman,(Chairman)
Robert Wiseman Jnr (CEO)
Industry Dairy Product Supplier
Products Liquid Milk, Cream, Orange Juice
Revenue £722.0 million (2008)
Operating income £31.6 million (2008)
Net income £19.3 million (2008)
Employees 4,262 (2008)

Robert Wiseman Dairies plc (LSE: RWD) is a large Scottish milk supplier and distributor. They are now one of the largest dairy businesses in Great Britain with seven major dairies (in Aberdeen, East Kilbride, Glasgow, Manchester, Droitwich Spa, Bridgwater, and Okehampton). Robert Wiseman Dairies also distribute cream and orange juice. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.



The company was founded in 1947 by Robert Wiseman, with a horse and cart used for doorstep deliveries in East Kilbride.[1]

1967 saw the current Chairman, Alan Wiseman, join the business straight from school, followed some eight years later by the Company’s current Managing Director, Robert Wiseman Junior.[1] Robert Wiseman Senior handed control of the business to his sons in 1976 and they gradually built the business up through a series of acquisitions in the 1970s and 1980s.[1]

In 1988 the company built a new purpose built dairy in Bellshill (referred to above as the Glasgow Dairy).[1] This dairy was designed for supermarket supplies and quickly gained contracts from some of the larger retailers. Having achieved success within Scotland, the Directors were determined to continue expanding the business and saw an opportunity to repeat what had been achieved in Scotland by establishing a production base in the North of England.

In March 1994 the Company was floated on the London Stock Exchange.[1] The money raised from the flotation allowed the acquisition of Kennerty Farm Dairies and the construction of a new Manchester dairy which opened in September 1995 and was operating to capacity within four years.[1]

In the late 1990s further growth in turnover was primarily achieved with further acquisitions in Scotland, including the Co-op liquid milk business, Hamilton Dairies and the liquid milk business from Scottish Pride (including the popular Fresh 'n' lo brand).[1]

A site was then identified at Droitwich Spa, south west of Birmingham, and a dairy opened there in April 2001.[1]

A Wiseman truck on the road.

In late 2006 the Company acquired Milklink's fresh liquid milk processing and distribution business which included diaries in Okehampton and Pensilva.[2] This expansion in capacity enabled the Company to secure a contract to supply 60% of Tesco's organic milk requirements.[3] The Company's latest development, a new 500 million litres per annum processing and distribution site at Bridgwater in Somerset, commenced operation as planned in December 2007.[1] The Pensilva dairy closed in June 2008.[4]

A deal with a Spanish distributor to supply fresh milk in that country was agreed in February 2008.[5]


Although still based in Scotland, sales in England now account for more than 66% of the Company’s sales.[6] Doorstep deliveries continue to decline resulting in an increase in sales in supermarkets. More than 70% of sales are now to multiple retailers.

The Droitwich dairy has a capacity of 500 million litres per annum and is believed to be the largest fresh liquid milk dairy in the world.[7]

The company also has thirteen distribution depots throughout the UK.


A key part of Wiseman's branding is the use of a black-and-white cowhide livery on the company's milk cartons, labels and many company vehicles, making them a highly recognizable brand.

The livery was also used by the company on a hot air balloon designed by Scotair Balloons at the 2007 Royal Highland Show[8] and the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta.

A balloon was also designed for their 'fresh n lo' range of pasteurized semi-skimmed milk to increase the brand's visibility.[9]


In 2007, Wiseman Dairies were one of a number of companies investigated by the Office of Fair Trading for a £270m price-fixing conspiracy. A swift and efficient resolution was brought about largely due to the co-operation of Wiseman and others with the OFT, resulting in combined fines for all companies involved of over £116 million.[10]


External links



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