GERMANY – The Danish dairy producer, Arla Foods has sold its German cheese production site in Bad Worishofen, Bavaria to Vache Bleue, a Belgian seller, distributor and packer of cheese.
As part of the sale, Arla has sold its shares in Muhlbach-sur-Munster based French cheese processor, Martin Sengele Produits Laitiers to Vache Bleue.
The two manufacturing sites involved in the transaction have a combined production capacity of 32,000 tons a year, Bad Worishofen plant producing 18,000 tons of cheese while Martin Sengele Produits Laitiers, located in the neighbouring Haut-Rhin commune of France has a capacity to produce 14,000 tons.
The two facilities also employ a total of 120 people.
According to Arla, the Bad Worishofen which produces cheese specialities such as Emmental was no longer in line with the strategic orientation of Arla’s stores in Germany and Europe, thus necessitating the divestment.
Martin Sengele Produits Laitiers is fully owned subsidiary of Arla Foods responsible for packaging of cheese specialties such as Emmentaler and mozzarella produced in Bad Worishofen, which are mainly distributed in France.
Founded in 1927, Vache Bleue SA operates as a former subsidiary of Valio Ltd, produces grated packaged cheeses including cheddar and Emmental.
Vache Bleue will continue with the current work at the German site, and 73 employees at the company including production and administration will continue to be employed by the new buyer.
Arla Foods said that it has agreed with its suppliers, Allgau milk supply groups that the existing production has been transferred to Vache Bleue which also agreed to produce cheese for Arla to meet current supply customers.
The transaction whose financial details were not disclosed, is expected to be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2019.
Early last year, Arla Foods unveiled plans to sell its cheese production site in Sonthofen, Germany to German-based dairy company Allgauer Hof-Milch GmbH.
Most recently, the European dairy cooperative agreed to acquire Kraft Heinz’s branded processed cheese business in the Middle East and Africa region from Mondelez international.