Emmi to further its foothold in Europe through Onken acquisition

By Helen Glaberson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Germany

Emmi is to gain the brand rights to Onken yoghurt as part of its wider plan to further its sales growth in the UK and Germany.

As from 1 January 2011, the company, which is Switzerland’s largest milk processor, will take over sales of the yoghurt product from German food producer Dr Oetker.

According to Emmi, the Onken brand is an attractive asset to the company which claims the product is “the leader in large pots of premium yoghurt”, ​with generated sales of CHF75m or £47m per year.

Urs Riedener, Emmi CEO, explained, "Onken is the no 1 in the UK and the no 3 in Germany for large pots of yoghurt. This strong brand will enable us to consolidate our market position in our key markets of the UK and Germany, and lay the foundations for further growth with exported Swiss products."

Esther Gerster, a spokesperson for the company, told DairyReporter.com that the acquisition forms part of Emmi’s wider strategy to consolidate its “strong position” ​in Switzerland and to grow in key international markets.

Further expansion

Gerster explained that the company’s export ratio is currently 27 per cent but the goal is to increase this ratio up to 50 per cent by 2014-15.

“Expansion will be through partly organic growth, and partly through acquisitions,”​ she explained.

To achieve this, Gester said Emmi is focusing on five markets: Italy, the US, Benelux, Germany and the UK.

In Germany, Emmi's second-largest foreign market, the company said the strong market position of Onken will help to increase sales of Emmi's Swiss range and “optimal use”​ of its sales structure in Germany.

The UK is an attractive market according to Emmi, which is currently trying to expand its fresh dairy products over there.

“Per-capita consumption of dairy products in the UK is relatively low, meaning that this market has the highest growth potential in comparison with the rest of Europe,”​ said the company.

No production changes

Onken specialises in the production of natural and fruit yoghurts in 450 and 500 gram pots.

Emmi said it will only take over sales of all Onken yoghurts for the time being as the Onken yogurts will continue to be manufactured in Moers in North Rhine-Westphalia by Dr Oetker.

Emmi claims to hold a strong position in the German retail sector, with fresh products such as Caffè Latte, Swiss yoghurt, Swiss Müesli, Griesstöpfli and Carameltöpfli.

The transaction is subject to approval by the Swiss Federal Competition Commission and the German "Bundeskartellamt".

Related topics: Markets, Consolidation

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