French dairy products maker Bel has announced that it has signed an agreement with one of Spain’s main cheese manufacturers, Forlasa, to sell the Manchego business activity of Bel’s subsidiary, Queserias Ibericas.

Queserias Ibericas produces and distributes Manchego cheeses, hard cheeses made from a mixture of cow, sheep and goat milk. Manchego generated sales of €74m (US$85.8m) in 2002, centred on two main brands: Gran Capitan and El Cigarral.

The move to sell Manchego is part of Bel’s future strategy to focus development on its core brands.

Finalisation of this transaction is subject to the approval of the Spanish competition authorities, which is expected by the end of the year.