EUROPE – French dairy business Lactalis has completed the acquisition of European dairy brands Royal Bel Leerdammer NL, Bel Italia, Bel Deutschland, Leerdammer and all related rights from multinational cheese marketer Bel Group.  

Lactalis said that the transaction, which involves Bel Shostka Ukraine, fits perfectly with its strategic priorities, which focus on top-quality product development. 

Leerdammer, one of Europe’s most iconic cheese brands, will now become part of Lactalis which aims to continue developing the brand and boost its international business.  

“By acquiring Leerdammer and Shostka, we have now completed our offering with a range of food brands that consumers know and love,” said Lactalis Group Chairman Emmanuel Besnier.  

“We want to turn the European Leerdammer brand into a global one by tapping into our worldwide reach.” 

The transaction also offers good growth prospects in Italy and Germany by expanding the french dairy firm’s European footprint. 

 Lactalis will also gain a foothold in the Dutch cheese market backed by two production plants and a local collection facility. 

The Shostka acquisition will further allow Lactalis to expand its Ukrainian business, where it has operated for the last 25 years. 

Meanwhile for Bel, selling business holdings takes its business beyond cheese products and enables it to bolster its positioning as a major healthy snacking player.  

The transaction also gives Bel further opportunities to advance its product offering strategy to achieve balanced revenues between dairy, fruits, and plant-based, while also stepping up moves into high-growth future markets like Asia-Pacific and North America. 

Commenting on the sale, Bel Group Chairman and CEO Antoine Fievet said: “I am delighted about the success of this transaction. For a start, it opens new doors for both the Shostka and Leerdammer brands and I want to thank all their staff and wish them all the best for the future because they have built the brands’ success over the last 20 years.” 

Earlier, Lactalis announced that it was in talks with Italian cheese manufacturer BelGioioso Cheese for the sale of Polly-O, which makes ricotta, mozzarella and string cheeses. 

The sale of Polly-O is part of anti-trust conditions that Lactalis is expected to meet following the acquisition of Kraft Heinz’s natural cheese business.  

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