The Spanish subsidiary of French dairy giant Lactalis has paid €8.28m for 29.9 per cent of the ingredients research division of Spanish dairy group Ebro Foods, which produces the omega-3 forms for Ebro Puleva’s successful €100m+ selling omega-3 milk.
The division Biosearch Life (formerly Puleva Biotech) is also responsible for extracting other nutrients from dairy and other sources, but the omega-3 ingredient is its main activity.
In a notice to the Spanish stock exchange, Ebro Foods said the deal would not have any negative effect on Puleva’s business, because it follows Lactalis – Europe’s largest dairy group – last year paying €630m for the Ebro’s Puleva dairy division, which manufactures the omega-3 milk.
It therefore is the main client of its new investment.
The transaction will see Ebro Foods retain 21 per cent of Biosearch stock, “without there being any form of syndication or agreement with other shareholders.”
“Likewise, it will retain the provision of R+D services which Biosearch performs for some of Ebro’s rice and pasta businesses.”
Biosearch also researches probiotic strains.
Lactalis has been increasingly active in Spain as it also bought the cheese division of Forlasa and the nutrition and infant milk division of Nutrition & Santé (Sanutri).
Neither company was available for further comment at the time of publication.
Puleva omega-3 milk
Puleva Omega-3 milk has been on the Spanish market for more than ten years where it has captured about two per cent of the milk market. The company has expanded the brand to include a walnut-flavoured version.
It is one of the world’s best-selling omega-3 functional foods and contains 40mg of EPA/DHA per 100ml, which allows it to claim it is an omega-3 source under new EU recommendations from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
The skim milk product is also fortified with vitamin E and oleic acid.
Puleva Biotech was formed by Ebro Puleva in the early 1990s as the company underwent a makeover that saw it commit to adding value to its dairy offerings with ingredients like omega-3 s, some of which it developed in-house and which it sells to other players.