According to a report in French publication Les Echos, although financial arrangements for the acquisition have not yet been confirmed, Minéfi, the French industry ministry, has already approved the takeover for the company - initially proposed last summer.
The move clearly emphasises Lactalis' present strategy aimed at bolstering its line-up of branded, consumer dairy products for export to the burgeoning markets of Eastern Europe, as well as to the more established western European dairy market.
The company, which in 2003 produced sales of €5.35 million, is already the leading producer of branded dairy products in Europe, with some of its more established brands including President, Rondelé and Société. Furthermore, Lactalis is also the leading exporter of French dairy products, with its President brand alone operating in 143 countries, spanning five continents.
As reported by DairyReporter.com last month, Lactalis continued its acquisition strategy after acquiring best-selling UK cheddar cheese brand Seriously Strong through the successful acquisition of Scottish firm McLellands - a company with an estimated turnover of £156 million (€222 million) as well as a strong footing in the niche cheese sector.
Meanwhile another leading French dairy producer, Bongrain, has also been involved in a recent flurry of investment activity. Last month the company opted to buy a further 20 per cent stake in France's leading producer of UHT and Camembert dairy products, Compagnie Laitière Européenne (CLE) from a number of French financial institutions. Bongrain now controls a 83.9 per cent of CLE through its Alliance Laitière Européenne (ALE) subsidiary
Pochat, based in the Haute-Savoie region, produces 77 million litres of milk and 9,000 tonnes of regional cheeses per year, including Reblochon and Tomme. Last year the company notched up an estimated turnover of €70 million.