Swiss cheese group Emmi believes its French venture with Italian firm Ambrosi will be the first of a series of international partnerships between the two companies.

Emmi, which bought a 25% stake in cheese specialise Ambrosi last month, said today (28 August) that the companies would merge their French operations and form Ambrosi Emmi France next year.

The two companies will pool their sales resources in France as they look to strengthen their position in the market, an Emmi spokesperson said.

“France is, whatever the sector, very hard to really get into as a foreign company. It takes time and investment,” the spokesperson told just-food. “We wanted to reinforce our sales strength in France.”

The spokesperson said Emmi and Ambrosi would look at opportunities to work together in other international markets although she insisted no decision has been taken on future partnerships.

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By GlobalData

The French venture between Emmi and Ambrosi is the latest in a series of moves in the French dairy sector, as companies join forces in the market in the wake of reform of the EU dairy sector.

Last month, Sodiaal and Entremont Alliance have decided to merge a number of their operations. In May, Sodiaal formed a cheese joint venture with fellow French dairy group Bongrain.

Industry watchers have claimed that EU dairy reform, which has seen, for instance, the scrapping of subsidies for dairy exports from the EU, could lead to rising costs in the sector.

The Emmi spokesperson insisted, however, that the venture with Ambrosi is merely a means of strengthening their respective businesses in France. “It’s all about building up our market position,” she said.