ITALY – French dairy products corporation, Lactalis has confirmed that it has acquired Italian cheese maker Nuova Castelli from private equity firm Charterhouse Capital Partners for an undisclosed sum.

Just-Food had earlier reported that Lactalis was the frontrunner in the race to acquire the Parmesan cheese business but faced competition from Italian peer Granarolo and private-equity groups.

The deal, subject to regulatory approval will enable Lactalis expand its product portfolio in Italy, which now includes Parmalat, Galbani, Invernizzi, Vallelata, Locatelli and Cademartori.

According to a report by Les Echos, a French Newspaper, the transaction includes Nuova Castelli’s 13 Italian sites and three foreign sites (in Poland, Hungary and the US).

“We pursue our development in Italy with the signature of an agreement for the acquisition of Nuova Castelli, company specialising in production and distribution of dairy products in the Italian tradition, such as Parmigiano Reggiano, Mozzarella di Bufala Campana and Gorgonzola,” said Lactalis in a statement.

Lactalis has a significant presence in the market through its Lactalis Group Italia subsidiary and owns a majority stake in Italy-based dairy business Parmalat.

With this acquisition, the Lactalis Group is strengthening its leadership in the distribution of AOC cheeses on international markets, where it is already a leader with a presence in more than 140 countries.

Founded in 1892, Nuova Castelli S.p.a. produces and markets cheese products and exports Parmigiano Reggiano cheese to markets including the UK, Germany, Russia and France.

It has operations in France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Scandinavia, and Russia; plants in Italy, Hungary, Poland, and the United States.

Lactalis, the owner of brands such as Président, Stonyfield Farm and Rachel’s Organic has made a series of acquisitions, including Indian dairy company Prabhat.

It acquired Egyptian cheesemaker Greenland Group, making it one of the leading dairy producers in Egypt.

Last year, the Lactalis acquired the Malysian assets of Swiss food group Nestle to include the latter’s operations in chilled dairy, the production of cold sauces and the packing of milk powder.

It also bought up the infant-formula business of aspen Pharmacare in South Africa.