Granarolo said the acquisition will enable Granarolo to consolidate its operations in Greece, a market where it has been selling the Granarolo brand for more than 10 years through QBI.
QBI ended 2016 with a turnover of €20.2m; Granarolo said the target for 2017 is an €23m turnover.
Greeks love cheese
Gianpiero Calzolari, president of the Granarolo Group, said that while the company operates in more than 62 countries worldwide, Europe is Granarolo's preferred market.
“Greece is particularly significant because it has one of the highest per capita consumption levels of cheese in Europe,” Calzolari said.
“In QBI we have found a key distributor for our group, known because we have worked together for long time, a partner focused on dairy products and with a deep knowledge in the Greek market.”
European expansion key
Stefano Panteliadis, president of QBI SA and of EPIROS, one of the largest feta cheese-producing companies in Greece, said the strategic deal was indicative of the importance QBI attaches to international cooperation.
“The benefits of our agreement with Granarolo are not limited to significantly reinforcing the importance of QBI as a regional player in the cheese market in Greece, the Balkans and Cyprus,” Panteliadis said.
“An additional, important benefit is the access that EPIROS products will acquire, through Granarolo's international distributor network, to about 20 countries, where we currently have no presence.
“It should also be noted that this investment conveys a message of increasing confidence regarding Greek market’s long term prospects. To convince such an important foreign corporation to invest in Greece was a high priority goal for us and we are glad to have achieved it."
The Granarolo Group includes a cooperative of milk producers, Granlatte, and a joint stock company, Granarolo S.p.A., which processes and sells the milk produced at 17 facilities in Italy, two in France, three in Brazil and one in New Zealand.
The Granarolo group producer cooperative includes approximately 1,000 dairy farmers, an organization of milk collection with 70 vehicles, 1,200 vehicles for distribution delivering 850,000 metric tonnes a year and every day serving some 50,000 points of sale where almost 16m Italian families buy Granarolo products.
Granarolo Group employs more than 2,800 workers. It is 77.48% owned by the Granlatte Consortium, 19.78% by Intesa Sanpaolo and the remaining 2.74% by Cooperlat.
In 2016, the group’s turnover was €1.2bn ($1.3bn).