French dairy products group Lactalis has acquired Croatian counterpart Dukat Mlijecna Industrij.

Lactalis has acquired 91.5% of the Zagreb-based company's shares but financial terms have not been disclosed. When contracted by just-food, the company, based in western-France, declined to comment on French media reports that it had paid EUR285m (US$380.26m) for Dukat.

The agreement aims to create "a powerful dairy group in Croatia" while at the same time strengthening the development of local production, Lactalis said.

Yesterday (28 March), Lactalis chief Emmanuel Besnier met with Croatian government vice president Damir Polancec. Lactalis committed to further develop Dukat's primary dairy production, increase its milk intake and maintain the existing number of staff employed by the company and its subsidiaries.

"It's our first acquisition in this region of Europe and we'll will now be looking to consolidate Dukat's market leadership in Croatia and to develop distribution links with neighbouring countries," a Lactalis spokesman told just-food.    

Family firm Dukat employs 2,000 staff and has two production plants in Croatia and one in Serbia.