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December 18, 2020

Lactalis to acquire Canadian yogurt business Ultima Foods from Agropur

French dairy group Lactalis has moved to acquire a yogurt business in Canada, along with brands and manufacturing facilities.

By Dean Best

French dairy group Lactalis has moved to acquire Canadian yogurt business Ultima Foods from the country’s Agropur cooperative.

The transaction is subject to competition approval and will be conducted via Lactalis’ Canadian subsidiary for an undisclosed sum. The deal will include Ultima Foods’ brands, its manufacturing facilities in Granby, Quebec, and Delta in British Columbia, along with a “leased” distribution centre in Longueuil, also in Quebec.

Mark Taylor, the president and CEO of Lactalis in Canada, said: “As a broadly-based dairy products company in Canada, producing and supplying a wide variety of popular brands, this transaction will reinforce Lactalis Canada’s position in the dairy category and will help enable key customer partners in both the retail and foodservice channels meet the growing consumer demand for yogurt products.” 

Privately-owned Lactalis will inherit around 450 new workers from the deal, taking the subsidiary’s workforce in Canada to around 3,500.

Agropur became the sole owner of Ultima Foods in 2017 when it took control of what was a 50-50 joint venture with Agrifoods International. Ultima Foods owns the iogo and Olympic yogurt brands.

Lactalis has instigated a number of M&A deals of late, especially in North America. In September, the company acquired a clutch of cheese brands from US food major Kraft Heinz, including Breakstone’s and Athenos.

In 2019, it bought the US yogurt business of Germany-based Ehrmann – Ehrmann Commonwealth Dairy – adding to its own brands Stonyfield (purchased in 2017) and Siggi’s (acquired in 2018) on sale in the country.

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