Lactalis in talks to buy Leerdammer from Bel | Food Industry News

Bel set to promote Leerdammer
Lactalis is seeking to snap up cheese model Leerdammer from French rival Bel Group, the businesses introduced at this time (19 March).

The 2 dairy majors stated they’re in “unique negotiations” having signed “a unilateral promise to buy a enterprise”. The deal would see Lactalis purchase the model and associated belongings with shares it holds in Bel.

Beneath the phrases of the transaction, Lactalis is to accumulate the Leerdammer model, plus belongings in 4 international locations – Royal Bel Leerdammer NL, Bel Italia, Bel Deutschland and Bel Shostka Ukraine – in change for a 23.16% stake in Bel. After the completion of the deal, Lactalis will maintain a 0.9% shareholding within the enterprise.

Privately-owned Lactalis, the world’s largest pure-play dairy firm, stated it plans to develop Leerdammer additional utilizing its “world scale” and by taking the model into “new high-growth world areas”. 

Of their assertion asserting the deal, the businesses stated Leerdammer’s “gross sales and earnings have practically doubled” since Bel purchased the model in 2002. 

Emmanuel Besnier, Lactalis’ chairman, stated: “We’re excited by the prospect of constructing on the expansion of this iconic model that individuals adore. This deal offers us a gap into the Dutch cheese market and manufacturing in Holland through three manufacturing vegetation. The switch to us of Bel’s Italian, German and Ukrainian gross sales subsidiaries will increase our services in these international locations benefiting each Leerdammer and different Bel product gross sales on these markets.”

The deal will see Lactalis distribute Bel manufacturers in Germany, Italy and Ukraine.

For Bel, the deliberate disposal is one other transfer within the reshaping of its enterprise. In 2016, the Babybel and Boursin cheese proprietor purchased French chilled-foods enterprise MOM. In 2019, the corporate unveiled plans to “rework its enterprise mannequin” and look to construct a “broadened portfolio of dairy, fruit and hybrid merchandise” together with plant-based gadgets. Final yr, Bel snapped up French plant-based start-up All in Meals.

Bel chairman and CEO Antoine Fievet stated: “In step with our strategic priorities, we proceed to develop our enterprise and tackle three additional market segments, particularly dairy, fruit and plant-based, and so reinforce our wholesome snacking main participant place. With this asset sale deal we reaffirm our unbiased household enterprise mannequin that provides us freedom to take a long-term view. For Leerdammer, this deal means a singular probability to have the backing of Lactalis, dairy merchandise world primary, which could have the wherewithal to assist it for its upcoming challenges.”

The businesses stated they’d begin talks with workers, whereas the deal is topic to regulatory approval. They anticipate the transaction to be finalised this summer season.

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