FrieslandCampina said its acquisition of The Irish Dairy Boards Belgian cheese packing operation is an "important" purchase"

FrieslandCampina said its acquisition of The Irish Dairy Board's Belgian cheese packing operation is an "important" purchase"

FrieslandCampina has said its acquisition of The Irish Dairy Board's Belgian cheese packing operation is an "important" purchase for the company as it looks to expand its position in the sector.

The Dutch dairy giant announced the acquisition of cheese packer IDB Belgium yesterday (11 June). The transaction, for an undisclosed sum, is expected to complete by the end of July.

"With this acquisition FrieslandCampina expands its market position with pre-packed cheese for both retailers and foodservice (catering and restaurants)", said FrieslandCampina COO Piet Hilarides. "This acquisition contributes to our growth objective as laid down in our strategy route2020."

Hard and semi-hard cheese packer IDB Belgium is one of the largest packers in Belgium and its branded and private label products are sold to the retail and foodservice sectors.

The company runs its Belgian operations from Genk and had a turnover of around EUR100m (US$125.1m) in 2011.

A spokesperson for FrieslandCampina told just-food: "[The acquisition] fits into our Route 2020 goals and it provides an important packaging line for our business. We already have some cheese packaging lines in the Netherlands, but in Belgium these can pack more kinds of cheese."

FrieslandCampina published its route2020 strategy in 2010, designed to grow the business globally through a focus on expanding in south-eastern Europe, the Middle East and north Africa, growing its foodservice business in Europe and improving its ingredients range.

The spokesperson said the transaction would give the company more contact with retailers and foodservice customers.

He added: "IDB has customers in 11 countries, including Germany, France and the Netherlands, so that is quite important to us. But the most important thing is that it is part of our Route2020 strategy and we want to grow in cheese."

IDB has said proceeds from the sale will be allow it to invest in "furthering the group's strategic growth plans" and in international acquisition prospects. However, a spokesperson for the board declined to comment further on its plans.