EUROPE – Italian dairy company Granarolo has acquired a majority stake in Venchiaredo, a producer and distributor of cheese products for an undisclosed amount.

Granarolo which makes fresh milk and dairy-cheese, dry pasta, deli meats and vegetable foods has increased its stake in the Italian firm from 33.5% to 57.5%.

Founded in 1968 and is based in Sesto Al Reghena, Italy, Venchiaredo Spa offers brands such as Venchiaredo Stracchino Cheese, Friulan Stracchino, Venchiaredo Fresh, and Organic Stracchino.

It also manufactures cream, cheese, and mozzarella serving its customers in the market.

The company had a turnover of €26.9 million (US$30.42 million) in 2018, up 18% on the year before, has 80 employees processing around 36 million litres of milk per year, 30% of which is organic.

“With the integration into the Granarolo Group, we will continue on the path of growth of Venchiaredo, aiming for an annual production of 9,300 tons of Stracchino,” said Venchiaredo president Alessandro Driussi.

In 2017, the Swiss dairy group Emmi sold its remaining 24% stake in the cooperative Venchiaredo to focus on categories like desserts and imports of Swiss cheese.

In selling the stake, Emmi said that it was ‘focusing its activities in Italy on the dessert business, cheese exports from Switzerland and its 25% stake in cheese trader Ambrosi’.

As part of the deal, Granarolo assumed responsibility for the sale of Venchiaredo’s cheese portfolio.

Founded in 1957, Granarolo has 14 production sites located in Italy, two in France, three in Brazil and one in both New Zealand and the UK, serving the fresh milk and dairy-cheese sector.

Last year, Granarolo acquired 100% of Midland Food Group, a key chilled foods & frozen foods wholesaler and supplier in the UK.

The deal saw Granarolo purchase both of Midland’s UK manufacturing facilities in Willenhall and Basingstoke, which produce meat products such as chorizos and salamis for the UK’s foodservice industry.