Entremont Alliance has signed a major contract with an unidentified Chinese food group to supply it with 40,000 tonnes of powdered milk annually for a period of ten years.

The volume is the equivalent of 450m litres of milk annually – 25% of the French Emmental maker’s current yearly output.

The Chinese government has had to manage milk shortages in the aftermath of the melamine scandal and securing supplies has become a priority.

“This contract represents an important outlet for Brittany’s milk surplus and the 1,100 producers who supply Entremont,” an industry source told just-food today (26 May).

The value of the contract and the identity of the Chinese group, with whom Entremont has had commercial relations going back 25 years, has not been disclose.

The CGT labour union at Entremont is hopeful that  the Chinese contract will prevent the company from being acquired by Sodiaal, the negotiations for which have been taking place over a period of several months without a conclusion being reached.  However, the industry source ruled out this possibility.

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“This is a totally different matter altogether. The French government does not want to see Entremont’s future dictated to by the demands of China’s dairy industry. The takeover process with Sodiaal has not been called into question.”