Fromageries Bel, the French cheese company, has teamed up with US-based company Galaxy Nutritional Foods to distribute the latter's range of dairy alternatives in the European Union.
The agreement gives Bel the exclusive rights to distribute certain Galaxy products to the 15 European Union states and to 21 other European countries.
The two companies will share marketing strategies and Fromageries Bel will participate in the development and distribution of Galaxy's products within its exclusive territories. Galaxy brands include Veggie, Nature's Alternative, Soyco, Wholesome Valley and Lite Bakery.
Galaxy, which makes soy-, rice- and oat-based dairy and dairy-related alternatives for the retail and foodservice markets, has also appointed Patrice Videlier, the senior vice president of marketing for Fromageries Bel, to its board of directors. Videlier has been a senior executive with family-owned Fromageries Bel since joining them in 1990.
Videlier explained that Fromageries Bel, which has traditionally focused its activity on milk-based products with strong branding, is now seeking a presence in the fast-growing non-dairy market of which Galaxy has a strong expertise and significant market share.
Fromageries Bel was also the largest investor in the recently completed private placements of common stock, according to Galaxy, which has received an aggregate amount of $3,850,000 for the stock placements. Fromageries Bel invested $2 million and an additional $1.85 million, provided by several additional investors, will be used to fund growth of the business in 2004.
Christopher J. New, the Galaxy CEO, said: "Not only have they [Fromageries Bel] invested in our future through the private placements, which we also announced today, but they have also demonstrated a strong belief and confidence in the position of Galaxy's products by entering into this distribution agreement."