French cheese maker Fromageries Bel plans to sell its Czech business Jaromericka, after the unit failed to meet sales and production targets.

The company, which acquired Jaromericka in 2008, also said that the recession and its impact on demand in the local market had left it with over-capacity in central Europe.

Bel's activities in Eastern Europe will now focus on the Želetava, Smetanito and Matador national brands as well as the company's international brands, including The Laughing Cow, Leerdammer and Babybel.

The sale will include Jaromericka's two production facilities as well as local brands such as Faun, Fénix.

“We consider the offer to sell Jaromericka with its full production capacity to be the best solution for the two plants, their employees and suppliers,” said Pascal Bigot, general manager of Bel Sýry Cesko.

“The dedication and skills of our local teams, the excellent quality of the milk and the industrial investment already made will enable a new buyer to continue developing and growing the business. The anticipated transaction will not only preserve production and the jobs linked to it, but trade relations with the concerned milk producers as well.”

Jaromericka processed 87m litres of milk and produced 15,600 metric tons of cheese in 2009.

Bel will remain active in the Czech Republic through its Bel Sýry Cesko subsidiary, which operates a production site in Želetava.