Parmalat said the acquisition was important as it adds a business active in the ethnic specialties segment in the US, increasing its current portfolio of gourmet cheeses and entering the yogurt market.
Karoun Dairies, Inc., in operation since 1990 in California, serves various ethnic markets in the US: Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, Indian, European, Hispanic, Greek, Russian, Armenian as well as mainstream American.
Karoun has a production facility in Turlock, California, and includes the brands Karoun, Arz, Queso Del Valle, Gopi, Yanni and Central Valley Creamery.
Its products include fresh cheese, feta, yogurts, goat cheese, kefir, sour cream and butter.
Karoun’s Blue Isle company, which includes the Blue Isle brand of yogurt spreads, Greek yogurt, sour cream and yogurt drinks is also part of the acquisition.
Combined, the two acquired companies have approximately 140 employees and, in 2016, had net revenue of about $55m.
The enterprise value of the acquired business was set at about $130m and the acquisition has been entirely financed with internal resources.
In 2015, Karoun Dairies voluntarily recalled and ceased production of certain cheeses from its Central Valley Creameries site in Turlock, due to possible contamination with Listeria.
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) said 28 people were hospitalized: six illnesses were pregnancy-related; one resulted in a fetal loss. Two deaths were reported in California and one in Ohio.
According to the CDC, epidemiologic and laboratory information showed that soft cheeses distributed by Karoun Dairies were the likely source of this outbreak, and the FDA isolated Listeria monocytogenes from two environmental samples collected in September 2015 from the Central Valley Cheese, Inc. manufacturing facility in Turlock, California.