The Compagnie des Fromages, a subsidiary of the Compagnie Laitière Européenne (Bongrain), plans to close two of its six plants in France by the end of next year as it reorganises production of its Camembert cheeses.

141 staff will be affected by the closures made necessary by a stagnant-to-declining market for traditional cheeses such as Camembert and Coulommiers.

In 1993, the group’s annual production of Camembert was 70,000 tonnes compared to an estimated 49,000 tonnes currently.

Production will centre on three plants n Normandy while activity at a fourth plant in the Creuse region will be reduced.

The Compagnie des Fromages has chosen to focus investment plans on its Coeur du Lion brand, a co-leader on the French market.