Blog: Dean BestSodiaal becomes big cheese in dairy with Entremont buy

Dean Best | 21 December 2010

One of the year's longest-running M&A stories has reached a conclusion with French dairy co-op Sodiaal finalising its plans to buy cheese maker Entremont Alliance.

A draft agreement on the deal was signed in June but, since then, Sodiaal, Entremont's sole shareholder, the holding company Unifem and the cheese maker's creditors have been in talks about its debts.

The debts, estimated in February at over EUR335m, were said to be the main sticking point preventing the deal being finalised but, on Friday, the French government, which was overseeing the talks, declared success.

Acquiring Entremont will make Sodiaal one of Europe's top five dairy processors and the deal highlights that the consolidation of the continent's dairy sector is gathering pace.

The deal is the biggest in European dairy since the 2008 merger between Friesland Foods and Campina. The financial crisis and economic downturn halted any further deals but this year there have been signs of a revival in activity - last week's announcement from Arla Foods that it plans to merge with Germany's Hansa-Milch being a prime example.

What's more, we are likely to see more M&A moves in Europe's dairy market next year as the end of EU dairy quotas in 2015 nears. Building scale will help protect businesses from a more deregulated market for milk.

Of course, 2011 will also be an important year for Sodiaal. The co-op is one of the two investors in yoghurt brand Yoplait and its partner, private-equity firm PAI Partners, is set to sell its stake.


BLOG

UK food producers call for "best possible single market access" post-Brexit

Since Theresa May took over as UK Prime Minister in the wake of the country's referendum vote to quit the European Union, she and her ministers have been at pains not to divulge their negotiating posi...

BLOG

Greenpeace trains sights on Sainsbury's over John West tuna

Greenpeace's long-running campaign against UK tuna brand John West, owned by seafood giant Thai Union, is now directing its fire against Sainsbury's....

BLOG

Post-Trump victory, TPP trade deal appears dead

The Obama administration appears to have conceded the landmark Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal will not be pushed through in the lame-duck session of Congress before Donald Trump is inaugur...

just-food homepage



Forgot your password?