French dairy producer, La Laiterie Gilbert, has opened up its capital to CASRA Capital, a regional investment fund managed by Crédit Agricole Alpes Développement (C2AD), an arm of French bank, Crédit Agricole, as it seeks to expand its franchise network of retail outlets.

Joint majority owner, Christophe Chaperon, who is also CEO, confirmed to the new investor had taken a minority shareholding of below 20%.

Laiterie Gilbert, which works closely with local co-operatives and has its own dairy brand spanning cheese – including a reblochon – milk, yogurts, cream and fromage frais, has six, owned stores in the Alpine region of south-east France as well as five franchise outlets, elsewhere in the country, including two in Paris.

Chaperon said the franchise concept of creameries was beginning to gain traction and the dairy was planning to open between three and five outlets annually.

Laiterie Gilbert posted a 2016-2017 turnover for the financial year ending 31 August, excluding franchises, of EUR3.2m, an increase of 8.5% on the previous year.