Speaking with DairyReporter.com, Canada-based dairy processor, Saputo, confirmed that it is in the “advanced stages” of negotiations with Lactalis in regards to the sale of its site in Heiden, which faces closure if no deal is completed.
In February 2013, Saputo announced plans to completely pull the plug on its European dairy processing operations after just seven years on the continent, citing a lack of “short to mid-term opportunities” to ensure profitability.
Saputo’s earmarked its facility in Heiden for closure, and a 30-day consultation period was launched in regards to the closure of its cheese manufacturing plant in Newcastle Emlyn in Wales.
Around 70 jobs at the Heiden plant could be saved if negotiations between Lactalis and Saputo are successful.
Saputo, Lactalis in “advanced stages of negotiations”
“I can confirm that we are in talks with Lactalis,” Saputo spokeswoman, Sandy Vassiadis, told DairyReporter.com. “We are currently in the advanced stages of negotiations with Lactalis.”
“We are doing everything possible at the moment to close the deal by the end of the month,” she added. Vassiadis declined, however, to comment on the transaction price currently being discussed by the parties.
DairyReporter.com also approached Laval, France-based Lactalis in regards to the negotiations with Saputo.
Lactalis spokesman, Michel Nalet, confirmed that talks were ongoing, but declined to comment any further.
“I can only confirm what has been said to you by Saputo,” said Nalet.
Unknown party interested in UK operations
Vassiadis also revealed that Saputo is in talks with an unnamed party in regards to the sale of its cheese manufacturing plant in Newcastle Emlyn, Wales.
“We are also in the advanced stages of negotiations to sell our plant in Newcastle Emlyn,” she said.
Quebec-based Saputo hopes to have both deals tied up by the end of this month in order to secure around 140 jobs at the two still-operational plants.
“If all goes well, and we are able to complete these transactions, then there will be no need to end production at the plants,” she added.