Dairy group Lactalis has announced the acquisition of French counterpart Célia subject to regulatory approval.

Célia’s brands include Chaussée aux Moines (cheese), Le Marin (butter) and Picot (baby milk). It employs 740 staff and posted a 2005 turnover of EUR225m (US$288.04m), 56% of which was generated abroad.

The acquisition of Célia is expected to complement Lactalis’own range of cheeses as well as allowing for significant economies in milk supplies.  

Lactalis is currently finalising a joint venture agreement with Nestlé covering a wide range of chilled dairy products, such as yoghurts and desserts in Europe.

At the turn of the year, it completed the acquisition of Italian food producer Galbani from UK-based private equity company BC Partners.