FRANCE – French multinational dairy corporation, Lactalis Group, has acquired a 25% stake in Italian cheese specialist Ambrosi from Swiss milk processor and dairy products company, Emmi Group, for an undisclosed amount.

Emmi noted the move is part of its ongoing portfolio reshaping efforts and supports the strategic focus on “clearly defined, profitable growth segments.”

The company added that the move also supports the “associated strengthening of majority stakes” mission that it has.

In 2007, the Swiss dairy major acquired a 25% stake in Ambrosi, which specializes in Italian cheese classics Parmigiano Reggiano and Grana Padano.

The agreement was a move to strengthen both companies’ offerings of premium cheese products while continuing to market their products independently in Italy.

Meanwhile, Emmi Ambrosi France business, in which Emmi Group has sold the 25% stake to Lactalis, was founded in 2008, following a collaboration between Emmi and Ambrosi.

The Swiss dairy major in that same year increased its stakes in the cheese specialist company from 51% to 85%.

The packaged cheese joint venture in France was aimed to offer customers a “comprehensive, high-quality range” of traditional Swiss and Italian cheeses and jointly drive forward their international growth.

However now, Emmi’s strategy is moving away from the Italian cheese classics, as explained by Emmi’s Group CEO.

Urs Riedener, CEO of Emmi, said: “Italian cheese classics such as Parmigiano Reggiano and Grana Padano have been the ideal addition to our high-quality traditional range of Swiss cheese specialties, but are no longer part of our core range. “

The sale also reflects our consistent strategic alignment to differentiated brand concepts and profitable focus platforms, such as ready-to-drink coffee, specialty cheeses, desserts, and plant-based milk alternatives.”

French dairy major Lactalis Group, which already has a cheese-making asset in Italy, Nuova Castelli, said it will incorporate Ambrosi into its portfolio alongside well-known brands such as Président, Société, Lactel, and Stonyfield Organic.

So far in 2022, Lactalis has announced plans to buy a factory and three dairy brands in Germany from the cooperative Bayerische Milchindustrie eG.

These purchases will come after the finalized acquisition of Australia-based yogurt maker Jalna Dairy Foods.

According to the Grana Padano protection consortium, current sales of Grana Padano and Parmigiano Reggiano appear strong considering that in 2021, the product exports grew by 7.07%.

The consortium highlighted that increase in production and consumption, alongside recovering prices, ‘positively influenced’ market results in 2021 and the first four months of 2022.

As for Parmigiano Reggiano space, 2021 consumer turnover hit an all-time high of €2.7billion (US$2.74B) compared to €2.35billion (US$2.38B) in 2020.

Value at production also saw the highest on record, at €1.71billion (US$1.73B) compared to €1.52billion (US$1.54B) in 2020.

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