France's Fromageries Bel is looking to use its global distribution network to boost the reach of Boursin, the cheese brand it bought from Unilever last month.

Bel, the cheese maker behind brands including The Laughing Cow, acquired Boursin in a EUR400m (US$576.6m) deal.

A senior official at Bel told just-food that the company would be looking to take Boursin into more markets. "Boursin is present in around 35 countries and probably has what can be described as a very good market position in ten of them," the official said. 

"We'll be looking to take the brand further than it has gone so far by levering Bel's sales and distribution network in around 100 countries. The Bel network will provide security and visibility as Boursin moves into new markets," he said.

The acquisition of Boursin gives Bel a presence in fresh, flavoured cheeses, a new segment for the company.

"Boursin and Bel share a similar economic model - both positioned at the top end of the market, offering highly differentiated products and putting a good deal of emphasis on sustained advertising and sales promotion. It's an excellent fit," the official said.

The official said the integration of Boursin had already begun and would be complete by the end of January. "We don't see anything but a smooth transition of Boursin into the Bel group," the official said. "It's a well-run, profitable company with a rationalized manufacturing operation. We expect things to be pretty much 'plug and play'."

Boursin's 150 employees, most of whom work at a production plant in the French town of Pacy, will transfer to Bel.