Dairy Crest Group said on Tuesday it was to sell most of its retailer brand cheese operations for 61.9 million pounds to farmer owned dairy business First Milk.

Dairy Crest, which announced on September 15 it was in talks about a sale, said in a statement the assets being sold made an estimated operating profit of 3.4 million pounds on sales of 194 million pounds in the year to end March, when the business had a book value of 60.5 million pounds.

The sale was in line with a strategy to build a branded and added value foods business and also with the industry trend for greater ownership of such assets by milk producers, it said.

Dairy Crest, whose brands include Country Life butter and Cathedral City cheese, also said its first half results would meet its expectations. As expected, in the current financial year, the business's performance is being impacted by generally lower industry cheese prices, it said.

Dairy Crest shares, which have outperformed other food producers <.FTASX3570> by 17 percent over the past 12 months, closed at 606.5 pence on Tuesday to value the business at 759 million pounds.