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July 25, 2022

Emmi sells stake in Italian cheese firm Ambrosi to Lactalis

Emmi said the disposal is part of its on-going portfolio transformation.

By Andy Coyne

Swiss dairy firm Emmi has sold its 25% stake in Italian cheese maker Ambrosi to French peer Lactalis for an undisclosed sum.

Emmi said the disposal is is part of its ongoing portfolio transformation and the “strategic focus on clearly defined, profitable growth segments, as well as the associated strengthening of majority stakes”. It acquired its stake in Ambrosi in 2007.

Urs Riedener, CEO of the Emmi Group, said: “Italian cheese classics such as Parmigiano Reggiano and Grana Padano have been the ideal addition to our high-quality traditional range of Swiss cheese specialties, but are no longer part of our core range.

“The sale also reflects our consistent strategic alignment to differentiated brand concepts and profitable focus platforms such as ready-to-drink coffee, specialty cheeses, desserts and plant-based milk alternatives.”

Emmi said it has received “increased interest in Ambrosi from other market participants” before accepting the offer from Lactalis.

It is the second deal between the two companies in less than a year. Last September, Emmi bought US feta cheese maker Athenos from Lactalis.

Just Food has asked Lactalis – which already has a cheese-making asset in Italy in the shape of Nuova Castelli, which it acquired in 2019 – for its comments on the Ambrosi deal. In April, Nuova Castelli put forward plans to shut two factories.

In January, Riedener will hand over the CEO reins at Emmi to finance chief Ricarda Demarmels. He will replace Konrad Graber as chairman of the Le Petit Chevrier brand owner.

So far in 2022, Lactalis has announced plans to buy a factory and three dairy brands in Germany from the cooperative Bayerische Milchindustrie eG. It also bought Australia-based yogurt maker Jalna Dairy Foods.

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