With an eye to increasing its presence in Finland and develop the Nordic dairy market, Arla Foods has acquired a 30% stake in Finnish dairy company Ingman Foods Oy Ab, with the option to buy the remaining 70%. 

"The international consolidation of the dairy industry is steadily continuing and new types of partnership are needed in order to meet consumers' and the retail trade's demand for broader ranges and greater choice," said Hans-Åke Hammarström, head of Nordic markets at Arla. "We also have to consider the milk producers' need for stable sales of their milk."

Arla's current Finnish operations, Oy Arla Foods Ab, will fuse with Ingman to form a new jointly operated company, Arla Ingman Oy Ab.

Over the next three-years Arla will be entitled to purchase the remaining 70% of Ingman shares. This agreement is designed to safeguard operations, ensure the continued commitment of employees and maintain continuity in relation to customers, the trade and the milk suppliers.

"The two companies complement each other well," said Ingman managing director Robert Ingman, who will continue as managing director of the new organisation. "With the great diversity of its range and global product development Arla can now contribute to the further development of dairy products from Finnish milk. Arla has shown a clear, long-term commitment and this has been very important to us in this deal."

Arla Ingman Oy Ab will have a turnover of EUR300m US$383.25m and employ around 500 people.

The Ingman ice cream business is excluded from the transaction.