Emmi goes Dutch for goat’s milk

By Jim Cornall

- Last updated on GMT

Swiss company Emmi is buying a 60% stake in Bettinehoeve
Swiss company Emmi is buying a 60% stake in Bettinehoeve

Related tags Milk Emmi

Emmi, Switzerland’s largest milk processor, is acquiring a 60% stake in Dutch goat milk business Bettinehoeve.

The family-run Dutch company has 30 years of experience in the field and is currently the largest producer of fresh and ripened goat’s cheese in the Benelux countries.

Emmi said that it focuses on premium and niche markets and successfully exports premium products manufactured in Switzerland. Through its foreign subsidiaries, Emmi is prominent in niche markets like desserts, lactose-free dairy, specialty cheese and goat’s milk products.

Continued growth in the field

Emmi entered the international market for goat’s milk products in summer 2010 with its acquisition of US goat’s cheese producer Cypress Grove Chevre. It has gradually expanded its activities in this segment in recent years.

In 2013, Emmi bought a 70% stake in Dutch AVH dairy, which specialises in the export of goat’s and sheep’s milk products, and most recently in December 2015, it took over the US company Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery.

Bettinehoeve was founded by Johan Ewijk, the father of the current managing director, Sybren Ewijk, in 1982. The company, which specialises in the manufacture of fresh and ripened goat’s cheese, currently employs 115 staff at its two Dutch production locations and generated sales of around $43.7m (€40m) in 2015.

Johan Ewijk was among the first to start producing goat’s cheese in Holland over 30 years ago. He has also laid the foundation, together with a few other pioneers, for the Dutch goat’s dairy industry which today is a growing market with opportunities for all those involved, whether farmers or manufacturers.

Bettine brand strong in Europe

Bettinehoeve’s goat’s milk specialities are largely distributed under its own “Bettine” brand. Bettinehoeve’s main market is the Netherlands, where it generates just under 50% of its sales. Key export markets include the UK, Germany, France, the Nordic countries and Belgium.

 The company works with Emmi subsidiary AVH dairy in overseas distribution. Sybren Ewijk, managing director of Bettinehoeve, said, “This partnership offers great synergies and growth opportunities, for example by increasing the distribution of the ‘Bettine’ ranges through the sales network Emmi has in Europe and overseas.”

He added, “I am confident that Emmi is the right decision for Bettinehoeve. We have worked together with Emmi over the past three years in the joint venture that we share (Goat Milk Powder). Emmi is a reliable partner. In addition, they have encouraged us to continue on our successful path.”

No changes to management structure

Urs Riedener, CEO of the Emmi Group, said, “Emmi now has a tried-and-tested network of firms successfully operating in the premium and specialities markets. We have shown our ability to do a particularly good job of integrating pioneering family-owned enterprises into the Emmi Group over the long term. Maintaining the culture specific to a firm helps to further reinforce its success on the market.”

The parties have agreed not to disclose the purchase price.  Sybren Ewijk, together with his existing management team, will continue to manage Bettinehoeve. The company will continue to act independently in the market.

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