FrieslandCampina said the acquisitions are part of its route2020 strategy

FrieslandCampina said the acquisitions are part of its 'route2020' strategy

Dairy giant FrieslandCampina has signed a deal to buy Balkans processors Imlek and Mlekara Subotica.

FrieslandCampina said today (2 February) it would buy 79% of Imlek and 82% of Mlekara Subotica from private-equity firm Salford Capital Partners. Financial details of the transactions were not disclosed.

Together, Imlek and Mlekara Subotica generate annual turnover of around EUR270m (US$354.2m).

FrieslandCampina said Imlek's "strong position" in the Serbian retail market will provide it with "an attractive entry point" into the western Balkans and neighbouring markets. Its brand portfolio includes ready to drink milk, yoghurt, cheese and cream products.

Mlekara Subotica's brand portfolio comprises mainly of added-value spreads and cheese products, which account for more than half of its revenues.

FrieslandCampina said the acquisitions are part of its 'route2020' strategy to "increase its global position in dairy-based beverages, infant nutrition and branded cheese". The company said it intends to acquire the remaining shares in both companies.

"FrieslandCampina wants to grow in various markets and product categories," said CEO Cees 't Hart. "This acquisition strengthens our brand portfolio and our position in south-eastern Europe, one of the spearheads of our route2020 strategy."

Together, the Serbia-based firms employ around 1,470 staff across six production plants and four head offices in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

The deal is the first major acquisition for the firm since the merger between Friesland Foods and Campina in 2008. The merger created a EUR9.1bn dairy giant.

The purchase of Imlek and Mlekara Subotica is expected to close in the next few months and is subject to certain regulatory approvals.