Under a deal announced yesterday, the group will offload production of its Chevagne goat's cheese brand to the joint venture group Amalthea van Dijk to concentrate on making its Milner and Volner brands. The move will be effective from 1 December this year. The group becomes the latest European dairy processor to amend its cheese operations in a bid to harness improved profitability amidst tightening supply of ingredients like raw milk. Campina says it worked with the cooperative goat dairy group Amalthea for 18 years. Despite terminating their current partnership, Amalthea has recently formed a new joint venture with Kaasmakerij Van Dijk to produce cheese derived from its herd's milk. The company said that its goat's cheese brand remained profitable and in fact shows signs of growth, with Chevagne holding a leading share in the semi-hard goat's cheese markets in Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands. However, with the cheese remaining a niche market requiring specialized production, the company says it has opted to cease production at its plant in Tilburg to create more space to process naturally matured products made from cow's milk. Campina added that the takeover of the operations by Amalthea van Dijk would prevent job losses, with production of the cheeses being switched to the newly formed joint venture's plant in Rijen. Piet Hilarides, group director of the cooperative's Cheese & Butter group, said that the company's strength came from the best possible processing and sale of cow's milk from its member farmers. "We therefore want to put all our efforts into the production and international marketing of naturally matured semi-hard cheeses from cow's milk with Campina Milner, Campina Volmer and our unique North Holland cheese at the forefront," he said. "That's why we sold our Belgian cheese specialities to Bongrain earlier this year and why we are now selling our semi-hard goat's cheese activities." Hilarides said that the focus for the company was not to protect its position as a leading global supplier of products such as North Holland cheese, which has a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) of the European Union. The designation limits the number of companies that can produce this specific type of cheese by restricting where and how it can be made. However, Campina is not the only producer having to amend its operations to meet the current increases in commodity prices. In September, Arla Foods said it was cutting cheese production by 6,200 tonnes until the new year in a drive to better deal with a dwindling global supply of raw milk. The group announced that production of edam, danbo, fontal, havarti and rindless cheese will all be reduced as part of the focus.