French dairy group Bongrain is to sell a milk production plant in north-west France as it continues to up its focus on cheese, cream and butter.

The company told just-food today (23 March) that it has agreed to sell its UHT milk production facilities in Derval to local rival Coralis. Fresh cream production will be switched to another site in Condé sur Vire.

A Bongrain spokesperson said milk production was not central to the company’s future plans. “This is milk and this is not a core business,” she said.

Bongrain has between 30 and 40 plants in France, the spokesperson said.

Earlier this month, Bongrain said a fall in global listings and a sharp increase in milk prices had an adverse effect on profits.

Bongrain posted a 77% drop in net income for 2008. Net income fell to EUR38m (US$51.5m) – a  significant drop from EUR161.7m in 2007.

Operating income was also down, reaching EUR86.5m – a 43.3 % drop on last year’s result.

Turnover however, was up 4% to reach EUR3.55bn and Bongrain insisted it had “held up well in a difficult economic environment”.