FrieslandCampina acquisitions 'strengthen' Italian cheese and butter position

By Mark ASTLEY contact

- Last updated on GMT

FrieslandCampina deals 'strengthen' Italian cheese and butter position

Related tags: European union

FrieslandCampina has acquired two Italian distributors in a bid to strengthen its position in the country's cheese and butter market.

The Dutch dairy giant announced earlier today it had sealed a deal to acquire DEK, which has for a number of years served as FrieslandCampina's dedicated sales agent in Italy for cheese and butter.

It also purchased an 80% stake in Bari-based Orange, which distributes a broad portfolio of cheese and cheese products to retail and specialty food stores across Italy.

FrieslandCampina decline to disclose the value of the deals.

Unveiling the transactions, FrieslandCampina said it has "acquired a strong sales and distribution network"​ in one the largest markets in the European Union (EU) for hard cheese.

Speaking with DairyReporter.com, Jan-Willem ter Avest, director of media relations, FrieslandCampina, said the investments would reinforce its position in the Italian markets for cheese and butter.

"We are already active in Italy. It's not a new market for us, but we can strengthen our position there, particularly in cheese and butter,"​ said ter Avest.

"Italy is a very interesting market for us because the demand for cheese is already there,"​ he added.

DEK will be integrated into the Dutch dairy's newly incorporated entity, FrieslandCampina Italy, while Orange will maintain its independence.

Job losses

News of its Italian dealings comes just one day after the Dutch dairy announced plans to close a plant in Belgium.

FrieslandCampina Belgium's Sleidinge processing facility will close in 2015, with the loss of 134 permanent positions, the company announced yesterday. 

It attributed its decision to a decline in demand for the dairy drinks manufatcured at Sleidinge.

The bulk of production and "at least"​ 20 employees will, however, be transferred from Sleidinge to FrieslandCampina's nearby Aalter facility.

It added that the technology and packaging of products manufactured at Sleidinge no longer meet consumer expectations.

"As a result, in recent years the Sleidinge facility has been struggling with ongoing utilization, and it is no longer economically feasible to continue the production in Sleidinge,"​ said a statement announcing the closure.

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