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FrieslandCampina enters into cheese distribution JV with Bongrain

By Mark Asltey , 19-Dec-2012
Last updated on 19-Dec-2012 at 15:35 GMT

Royal FrieslandCampina has entered into a joint venture with Bongrain in an effort to boost its presence in the French cheese retail market.

The joint venture, which will come into effect from 1 January 2013, will be responsible for the sale of FrieslandCampina’s branded cheese products portfolio on the French market.

FrieslandCampina will control a 45% share of the joint venture. Bongrain will control the remaining 55% stake.

In a statement posted on its website, the Netherlands-based dairy giant revealed that it hopes to learn more from France-based Bongrain about the country’s cheese retail market.

“Royal FrieslandCampina will contribute its expertise in hard and semi-hard cheese production to the partnership. Bongrain will contribute its knowledge of the French branded cheese retail market," it said.

Speaking with DairyReporter.com, FrieslandCampina spokesperson Jan-Willem ter Avest called the joint venture a “great opportunity to gain access to Bongrain’s cheese distribution channels.”

Sell more cheese

“This joint venture could be very effective. Bongrain is a big company in the French dairy market, with a big distribution network,” said ter Avest. “The first thing that we want to achieve through this joint venture is to optimise our distribution of cheese across France, and gain access to their sales networks.”

“We want to sell more cheese in France. That is the aim of this joint venture.”

He added that Bongrain will also benefit from the deal, in a purely financial way.

“Bongrain will benefit from the sale of our cheeses. We hope that they will make some good money out of the agreement.”

“Limited” joint venture

ter Avest added that FrieslandCampina already has high hopes for the JV.

“You start a joint venture with someone if you think you can work together for a long time,” he said. “It is hard to say how long it will last, but we hope for a long time.”

In its statement on the deal, FrieslandCampina added that the joint venture is “limited” and that it has no intention of taking over Bongrain.

“Royal FrieslandCampina NV does not intend to acquire the French Dairy Company, Bongrain SA,” the company statement said.

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