French dairy groups Sodiaal and Bongrain have set up a cheese joint venture.

The companies will pool its cheese interests into the venture, in which both will hold an equal stake.

Sodiaal's cheese operations, Fromageries Riches Monts, and Compagnie des Fromages, Bongrain's cheese arm will make up the venture.

The companies said that the enlarged cheese producer would be in a stronger position to meet "the significant changes" thrown up by the new Common Agricultural Policy.

"Bongrain and Sodiaal underline their will to contribute to reinforcing and providing increased impetus to the presence of the French dairy processing industry within the major European markets," the companies said.

The formation of the venture is subject to the approval of French competition authorities.