France’s leading dairy co-op group, Sodiaal, is set to acquire French drinking milk trader, Orlait.


Following an initial minority stake of 10%, Sodiaal will increase this to 51% over the next three years. 


Orlait  sells around  400 million litres of milk annually and posted a turnover of EUR217m (US$278m) in 2004, the most recent year for which figures have been published.


The company is currently 51%-owned by its CEO, Roger Beguinot with co-operatives accounting for the remaining 49%.


Sodiaal’s brands include YOPLAIT, Le Rustique and France’s drinking milk market leader, Candia. Orlait’s role within the group will be to market certain categories of product in the Candia range. 


Sodiaal has an annual turnover of close to EUR1.9bn, excluding Yoplait. The company processes 2.2 billion litres of milk annually.