Emmi progresses North American strategy with M&A

Emmi progresses North American strategy with M&A

Swiss dairy Emmi has taken full control of Canadian importer JL Freeman's cheese business in a move that the group said enhances its position in North America and secures market access.

Emmi said: "The deal allows Emmi to establish another important base in North America that will build on its strong position in the US and existing presence in Canada. With this acquisition, the company is securing direct access to an interesting market, extending the value chain of its speciality cheese exports to Canada and creating potential for the export of additional products from the Emmi Group."

JL Freeman Ltd Partnership Cheese Import and Distribution Operation, the cheese business of JL Freeman, generates annual sales of around C$38m (US$32m). The group currently imports cheeses from Switzerland, Italy and France.

JL Freeman will continue to operate independently and under the leadership of its current management, Emmi.

Emmi said it has "honed its strategy" in North America, making "more targeted" use of resources to expand in speciality cheese. The US is Emmi's largest international market where it operates Emmi Roth USA and Cypress Grove Chevre. The Swiss cheese maker said the JL Freeman acquisition "complemented" its existing North American businesses.

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Emmi acquires the cheese business of J.L. Freeman in Canada

Lucerne, 12 January 2015 - Emmi is acquiring 100 % of the shares in the cheese business of J.L. Freeman, based in Boucherville, Canada. The company is Canada's leading importer of speciality cheeses, primarily from Switzerland. This move enables Emmi to expand its position in North America and secure market access for exports from Switzerland.

Emmi has honed its strategy in North America over the past few months. Its planned measures include making more targeted use of resources to strengthen its position in the speciality cheese business. The acquisition of 100 % of the shares in the cheese business of J.L. Freeman Limited Partnership Cheese Import and Distribution Operation (hereinafter: J.L. Freeman), domiciled in Boucherville, Canada, marks another step in the desired direction.

The deal allows Emmi to establish another important base in North America that will build on its strong position in the US and existing presence in Canada. With this acquisition, the company is securing direct access to an interesting market, extending the value chain of its speciality cheese exports to Canada and creating potential for the export of additional products from the Emmi Group.

One of the largest cheese importers in Canada
J.L. Freeman is one of the leading cheese importers in Canada. More than half of its imports are cheeses from Switzerland - such as Le Gruyère AOP, Emmentaler AOP, Fondue and various specialities - and another important part is cheese from Italy and France. J.L. Freeman generates sales of around CAD 38 million (almost CHF 35 million) and employs 18 members of staff in its cheese business.

Emmi's CEO Urs Riedener commented: "J.L. Freeman is an established, profitable company which has been working successfully with Emmi for almost 60 years. Its leading position in the import of speciality cheeses offers an excellent marketing opportunity for Swiss cheese varieties and specialities such as Kaltbach and Swiss Fondue."
J.L. Freeman cheese business will continue to operate independently and under the leadership of its current management in future.

The acquisition is planned for the first quarter of 2015 and will enter into force once the necessary official authorisations from the Canadian government have been issued.
Stronger focus on the speciality cheese business in North America

The US is Emmi's largest foreign market and the company has been generating solid sales growth there for years. Emmi's focus in North America is on the speciality cheese business. The first pillar of this business is Emmi Roth USA. The company produces renowned brands of cheese made from cow's milk and imports speciality cheeses from Switzerland (including Kaltbach, Fondue and Le Gruyère AOP). The second pillar is Cypress Grove Chevre, which produces premium goat's cheese and is based in Arcata, California. As the leading importer of speciality cheeses in Canada, J.L. Freeman ideally complements Emmi's position in North America.

Further information J.L. Freeman website (English and French): http://www.jlfreeman.ca
Contacts Analysts: Esther Gerster, Head of Corporate Communications & IR T +41 58 227 50 69, E-mail: esther.gerster@emmi.comMedia: Sibylle Umiker, Head of Media Relations T +41 58 227 50 66, E-mail: media@emmi.com

About Emmi Emmi is the largest Swiss milk processor and one of the most innovative premium dairies in Europe. In Switzerland, the company focuses on the development, production and marketing of a full range of dairy and fresh products as well as the production, ageing and trade of primarily Swiss cheeses. Outside Switzerland, Emmi concentrates on brand concepts and specialities in established European and North American markets, and increasingly in emerging markets outside of Europe. The primary focus in fresh products is on lifestyle, convenience and health products. In the cheese business, Emmi positions itself as the leading company worldwide for Swiss cheese. Emmi's customers are the retail trade, the hospitality and food service sector, and the food industry. In 2013, Emmi posted net sales of CHF 3,298 million and a net profit adjusted for one-time effects of CHF 98 million. In the first half of 2014, the company achieved net sales of CHF 1,625 million and net profit (adjusted) of CHF 45 million. As at 30 June 2014, the company employed some 5,200 people (full-time equivalents) in Switzerland and abroad.

About J.L. Freeman J.L. Freeman S.E.C. was established in 1928 and is a leading importer and trader of foods, alcoholic beverages and health and beauty products in Canada. In its speciality cheese business, the company will generate sales of around CAD 38 million (approximately CHF 35 million) in 2015 with 18 employees. The headquarters of J.L. Freeman S.E.C. are located in Boucherville, Canada.

Original source: Emmi