Emmi has entered an agreement to acquire Swiss cheese manufacturer Rutz Kase.

The Swiss dairy group announced today (6 July) that the move will "reinforce Emmi's position as the leading cheese supplier in Switzerland and as an exporter of Swiss cheese".

Rutz Kase expects to generate CHF40m (US$47.7m) in sales during 2011, of which around 60% is expected to come from Switzerland.

However, Emmi CEO Urs Riedener emphasised the importance of Rutz Kase's operations outside its home market.

"The international business of Rutz Ksse takes us a further step forward in securing our position in the highly competitive cheese business and in better marketing Swiss cheese abroad," Riedener said.

Emmis plans to continue to operate Rutz Kase's facilities in Wittenbach, Gossau, and Koppigen. However, Emmi said that, following the completion of the transaction it will examine any potential synergies in pre-packaging. It said that any affected employees would be offered alternative positions at other Emmi facilities in eastern Switzerland.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed and it remains subject to approval from the Swiss Federal Competition Commission.