The move comes one year after it opened a raw milk testing laboratory in Jeffreys Bay. Mérieux NutriSciences said the success of this lab was part of the reason for expanding its offering in the sector.
The firm told us it identified a need for more independent dairy testing in South Africa.
Before the purchase of Lactolab, its presence in Jeffreys Bay meant it held between 5-10% of the market share in dairy testing.
Now, with the acquisition, Mérieux NutriSciences estimated that has grown to 60%.
It added that the deal for a firm in the north was also driven by the fact that milk is a fresh commodity and to ensure better sample quality/consistency, quicker results and reduced logistics.
Dairy analytical focus
Lactolab specializes in the analysis of raw milk and dairy products for composition, hygienic quality and other quality parameters.
Services include compositional analysis (fat, protein, lactose), bactocount/individual bacteria count (IBC), somatic cell count (SCC), milk urea nitrogen (MUN), freezing point depression (FPD), milk ring test (MRT), coliforms and E. coli and inhibitory substances for raw milk.
The firm also looks at pasteurized milk and cream, UHT and sterilized milk, yoghurt and cultured milk products, milk and whey powders, cheese, butter and environmental monitoring.
It has a lab in Centurion, in the Gauteng region equipped with instruments and technology that are internationally approved and meet IDF (International Dairy Federation) criteria.
Extend in north of country
Philippe Sans, president and CEO of Mérieux NutriSciences, said: “The purchase of Lactolab, whose name is synonymous with dairy expertise in South Africa, enables us to extend our dairy testing offering to our clients and the industry in the north of the country.”
Lactolab, purchased from Clover SA, employs seven staff who will join the Mérieux NutriSciences team.
“The acquisition of Lactolab arose from a necessity for the geographic expansion our offering to the South African dairy industry, following the overwhelming success of our raw milk testing laboratory which opened in Jeffreys Bay in 2015,” said Valmé Stewart, managing director of Mérieux NutriSciences in South Africa.
The raw milk testing facility had CombiFoss FT+ instrumentation for determination of Somatic cell counts, protein, fat, urea, lactose, total solids and total-solids-non-fat.
The acquisition is the fourth by Mérieux NutriSciences in fiscal year 16 (starting October 1, 2015).