• Jindi produces "premium" cheeses
  • Menora said deal would allow focus on sales, marketing

Lactalis has agreed a deal to buy Australian cheese business Jindi from local FMCG sales and marketing firm Menora Foods.

Jindi, which Menora said manufactures "speciality" cheese, will join a Lactalis Australian cheese portfolio that includes Lemnos, which produces fetta and haloumi. The deal is expected to be completed next month. Financial details were not disclosed.

Menora said the Jindi portfolio includes "premium" white, washed rind, blue mould and pressed cheeses. It said Lactalis had "signalled their intention to continue to invest in the business".

Menora added the transaction would enable it to focus on selling and marketing its portfolio of third-party brands. In Australia, it represents brands including Andros' Bonne Maman jam and Greek yoghurt business Chobani.

The deal adds to a Lactalis business in Australia that not only includes Lemnos but also the Parmalat operations it acquired last year when it bought a majority stake in the Italian dairy giant. Australia is one of Parmalat's biggest international markets.

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We are pleased to announce that Menora Foods has entered into an agreement to sell its Jindi Cheese business to French dairy company, Lactalis Group. The transaction remains subject to conditions, with completion expected to occur at the start of December. Menora, Jindi and Lactalis management have developed a clear plan to ensure the transition of the business.

Menora Foods was established in 1967 and is a leading, family-owned, food marketing and distribution business. The business now employs over 350 people and owns and represents some of Australia’s most trusted food brands. Menora operates a national supply chain structure with grocery, confectionery, chilled and frozen storage warehouses with facilities in all key Australian states.

Jindi Cheese is an iconic Australian speciality cheese manufacturer with a range that includes a premium selection of white, washed rind, blue mould and pressed cheeses. Based in Gippsland, Victoria in the heart of Australia’s dairy farming region, its multiple domestic and international awards are a testament to a commitment of quality, taste and innovation.

The sale of Jindi Cheese is a part of Menora’s strategy to re-focus on its core business of FMCG sales, marketing and distribution, a strategy that was developed following a full review of the business earlier in the year. As part of this review, it became clear that in order for the Jindi business to capitalise on the significant investment that has been made to establish market-leading brands across a number of specialty cheese categories, and move forward to realise its full potential, it must have an owner that not only has a passion for creating outstanding specialty cheeses, but also one that has the resources to continue to drive growth and innovation. Menora believes that it has found this owner in Lactalis.

“After purchasing the Jindi business in 2005, we invested heavily in securing the right team and facilities to drive continuous improvement in both the range and quality of products. I am thrilled with all that has been achieved during our period of ownership, including significant growth and innovation with numerous prestigious domestic and international awards, and believe that Lactalis have the experience and resources to capitalise on the success to date and take the business to the next level” - Ely Schachna (Managing Director, Menora Foods)

Lactalis is based in Laval, in the heart of the dairy region in western France and has a rich history in producing outstanding specialty cheeses. Although it is the largest dairy products company in the world, with a presence in nearly 150 countries, Lactalis continues to be a family-run business that highly values the skills of its employees and the quality of its products and service to its customers. In Australia, Lactalis owns Parmalat, a producer of milk, dairy products and fruit-based beverages, and Lemnos, which makes Fetta and Haloumi cheeses.

Lactalis have signalled their intention to continue to invest in the business and work closely with the team at Jindi to drive continuous improvement and implementation of best practice.

The acquisition of Jindi by Lactalis represents a unique opportunity for two businesses that share a passion for speciality cheeses to come together to create a business that has the experience, skills and resources to continue to drive innovation and growth for the benefit of all its people, and most importantly, for its customers.

On this transaction, the Jindi shareholders were advised by corporate advisory firm Henslow Partners, and by law firm HWL in respect of legal advice.

Original source: Menora Foods