AUSTRALIA – Lactalis, the world’s largest dairy company, has signed an agreement for the acquisition of Australia-based yogurt maker Jalna Dairy Foods in an effort to bolster its presence in the Australian dairy market.

The deal includes the popular Australian yogurt brand Jalna, a yogurt production facility in Melbourne, and a milk farm in northern Victoria.

Jalna Dairy Foods had employed around 90 staff and manufactures the majority of its pot set yogurts with a strong focus on Greek, organic, and all-natural yogurts.

 “This acquisition strengthens Lactalis Australia’s leadership role in the local dairy sector, a growing national footprint, and Lactalis’ long-term investment in Australia,” Lactalis said in a statement.

This is the second acquisition by Lactalis this year. Earlier in March, the French dairy bought a factory and three German dairy brands from Bayerische Milchindustrie eG cooperative in an effort to strengthen its presence in the country. 

The deal included BMI’s fresh milk, yogurt, quark, cream, and ayran (a yogurt-based beverage) products and the regional German brands Frankenland, Thüringer Land, Haydi, and a dairy plant in the city of Würzburg.

Recently, there were speculations that Lactalis had intentions of acquiring some brands of Danone even after the French peer rebuffed claims that the company was considering a sale of either part or its entire business.

Furthermore, Lactalis has experienced changes in its executive after CEO Philippe Palazzi departed from the dairy giant after just 13 months due to what appeared to be differences over the group’s strategy.

In a statement, Lactalis gave insight on what really led to Palazzi’s step down as it noted that the conditions for alignment with the group’s strategy could not be met.

The group appointed Chairman Besnier effectively to take on the responsibilities of CEO while long-serving executive Thierry Clément has been appointed to the newly-created role of a chief operating officer.

Late last year also saw Lactalis offload Polly-O to US-based Italian-style cheese firm BelGioioso and Athenos feta cheese line to Swiss dairy group Emmi for an undisclosed sum.

This is after a competition review of its deal to buy a number of brands from Kraft Heinz at a cost of US$3.2bn which included Breakstone’s, Athenos, Knudsen, Polly-O, and Hoffman’s, along with the US licensing rights for Cracker Barrel.

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