Agrial to buy German cheese company
The acquisition of Rotkäppchen Peter Jülich Group, which owns three brands in Germany, would represent further fulfilment of the Horizon 2025 strategy of Eurial, the dairy division of Agrial. The development has been made possible by an initiative in recent years to manage the group’s industrial and logistic costs.
In 2017 and 2018, dairy factory activities at La-Chapelle-Saint-Laurent and La-Chapelle-Thireuil in La-Chapelle-Thireuil were merged, the site in Givors was closed, improvements were made to milk logistics on a European scale (generating annual savings of €1.1m ($1.24m) and energy-reduction measures at its ultra-fresh industrial sites saved another €400,000 ($450,000) annually.
The acquisition should take place in January 2019, subject to approval by the German Competition Authority.
A family-owned German based company in Dortmund, Rotkäppchen Peter Jülich Group specializes in the manufacture and sale of branded cheeses.
Based in Dortmund, Rotkäppchen Peter Jülich Group focuses on three brands. Rotkäppchen and Rügener Badejunge are two soft cow’s milk cheeses, whilst Der Grüne Altenburger is the top goat’s cheese in Germany.
Rotkäppchen Peter Jülich Group has 138 employees, an industrial site in Lumpzig (near Leipzig) and posted consolidated sales of €40m ($45m) in 2017.
Pascal Le Brun, president of the Agrial dairy farmers’ organization, said, “This acquisition will be a new and determined step in our quest to create value for the cooperative’s dairy farmers. Our aim is to be less dependent on the global commodities markets by strengthening the weight of our brands and our international business. This is a long-term strategy that is built step-by-step and for which all the elected farmers and teams are dedicating all their energy, for our farmer-members.”
From the first quarter of 2019, Eurial’s factories in France will manufacture more than 1,000 tons of soft cow’s milk cheese for the German market, representing around 7m liters of milk from Agrial members. Part of Rotkäppchen Peter Jülich Group’s production has been outsourced to another industrial site in Germany. This acquisition would mean redeployment of industrial activities between the German factory in Lumpzig and French factories of Agrial’s Dairy division.
Olivier Athimon, CEO of Agrial’s dairy division, said, “This investment in Germany is directly in phase with our projects in Italy and Spain, bolstering our international development first and foremost with a stronger presence in Europe. Finding a partner who is present on the cow’s and goat’s cheese markets is a real advantage for Eurial’s development in Germany.”
Peter Jülich, owner of Rotkäppchen Peter Jülich Group, said, “Selling our family-owned company to Agrial, whose cooperative values are very close to ours, would be an important guarantee for the longevity of the company and the future of our employees. In a cheese market that is flourishing in Germany, this acquisition would also represent an opportunity to continue to develop our brands and consolidate our sales teams with new brands that are famous in France.”
Agrial is a French farming and food cooperative company with 150 processing sites in 15 countries. Agrial, which has 13,000 cooperative members and 22,000 employees, had a turnover of €5.5bn ($6.2bn) in 2017.
Eurial, Agrial’s dairy division, has 24 industrial sites in France and four outside France. Eurial is the European leader in the goat cheese market with its Soignon brand, top in mozzarella sales for industrial use in France with the Maestrella brand, the leader in speciality butters in France with Grand Fermage, and leads in ultra-fresh produce in France with its supermarket own-brands.
Agrial’s milk division has 4,800 employees and generated €2.3bn ($2.6bn) in turnover in 2017, 35% of which was in exports.