GERMANY-  World’s largest dairy based on annual sales Lactalis is set to acquire three German dairy brands from Bayerische Milchindustrie eG in an effort to strengthen its presence in the country.  

Family-owned Lactalis said the agreement includes regional German brands; Frankenland, Thüringer Land and Haydi BMI and a dairy plant in the city of Würzburg. 

The assets generate an annual turnover of about EUR200m (US$219.6m), according to a statement from the French-based company. 

Lactalis said the transaction with BMI is expected to close mid-year, subject to competition approval in Germany and Austria. 

Lactalis markets the Salakis, Galbani and MinusL brands across Germany, and has a regional presence in the south of the country in Lake Constance and the Prealps with the Omira Milch vom Bodensee dairy line. 

It  expanded its presence in Germany in 2020 through its deal with France’s Bel Group for the Leerdammer cheese brand, 

With the new acquisition, Lactalis now eyes a close and long-term partnership with dairy producers in southern Germany in order to continue to boost the market for regional products. 

Morten Felthaus, the managing director for Lactalis in Germany, said: “We want to continue the successful work of BMI by developing the regional brands Frankenland, Thüringer Land and Haydi. 

 In addition, we want to ensure favourable economic prospects for partner farmers while strengthening Lactalis’ position in Germany, just a few months after the integration of Leerdammer and its strong presence in the German market.” 

BMI, meanwhile, operates seven production facilities in Bavaria and Saxony-Anhalt but intends to focus on cheese and ingredients post the transaction with Lactalis. 

 Headquartered in the Bavarian city of Landshut, the co-op generated an annual turnover in 2020 of EUR665m. 

Chairman Thomas Obersojer said: “BMI will focus more on its core competences of ingredients and cheese. We view this transaction very positively.” 

The collaboration with Lactalis represents a good economic prospect for farmers who change farms. For us, it is important that milk, sites, jobs and brands remain together in this promising configuration.” 

Earlier, Lactalis announced changes to its executive structure following the departure of CEO Philippe Palazzi in February after only 13 months in the job. 

Chairman Emmanuel Besnier will now effectively take on the CEO responsibilities – although Lactalis has not said he will hold that title. 

Long-serving executive Thierry Clément was promoted to the newly created role of chief operating officer. 

A General Directorate of Operations has also been created and brings under one roof the major geographical areas of the group. 

The officeholder will oversee the group’s industrial, management control and performance, purchasing, logistics, systems information, milk collection, marketing, sales and human resources. 

In a statement sent to Just Food, Lactalis said the new structure has been put in place to “strengthen the management of growth and its transformation challenges”. 

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