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Bel and Lactalis enter exclusive talks to sell Leerdammer

Lactalis will acquire the dairy businesses in Italy, the Netherlands, Germany and Ukraine

Bel Group and Lactalis Group announced they have begun exclusive negotiations having signed a unilateral promise to purchase a business, including Royal Bel Leerdammer NL, Bel Italia, Bel Deutschland, the Leerdammer brand and all related rights plus Bel Shostka Ukraine, from Lactalis. Sicopa, a wholly-owned Bel subsidiary, will transfer said assets to Lactalis in return for 1,591,472 Bel shares (23.16% equity stake) held by Lactalis. Following the transaction, Lactalis will hold a 0.90% stake in Bel. As of December 31, 2020, Leerdammer and Bel Shostka Ukraine revenues were approximately €500 million, of which €350 million Leerdammer revenues, while operating earnings were approximately €25 million.

Bel Group Chairman and CEO Antoine Fievet said: "In line with our strategic priorities, we continue to grow our business and take on three further market segments, namely dairy, fruit and plant-based, and so reinforce our healthy snacking major player position. With this asset sale deal we reaffirm our independent family business model that gives us freedom to take a long-term view. For Leerdammer, this deal means a unique chance to have the backing of Lactalis, dairy products world no. 1, which will have the wherewithal to support it for its upcoming challenges. We’re proud to have supported it with tremendous success over close on 20 years. I’d like today to thank all Leerdammer and Bel Shostka Ukraine people for their outstanding work and commitment".

Lactalis Group Chairman Emmanuel Besnier said: “We welcome Leerdammer and we’re excited by the prospect of building on the growth of this iconic brand that people adore. This deal gives us an opening into the Dutch cheese market and production in Holland via three manufacturing plants. The transfer to us of Bel’s Italian, German and Ukrainian sales subsidiaries will boost our facilities in these countries benefiting both Leerdammer and other Bel product sales on these markets". 

The Bel Group is a world leader in branded cheeses and a major player in the healthy snack market, with over 12,510 employees in around 40 branches, 33 production and distribution sites in nearly 120 countries. Its portfolio of differentiated and internationally recognized brands includes products such as The Laughing Cow, Kiri, Mini Babybel, Leerdammer, Boursin, Pom'Potes and GoGo squeeZ, as well as around 20 local brands. The Group achieved sales of € 3.46 billion in 2020.

Lactalis is the world's number one producer of dairy products and is a company controlled by the Besnier family, founded in 1933 in Laval. It operates in 51 countries with 266 production plants and 85,000 employees, and a 2019 turnover of around 20 billion euros. It is famous for iconic brands such as Président, Galbani and Parmalat. In Italy it also controls Nuova Castelli, Invernizzi, Vallelata, Cademartori, Locatelli.

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EFA News - European Food Agency