Arla Foods has sold a cheese factory in southern Germany to the Belgian cheese processor Vache Bleue.
The plant – in Bad Wörishofen, Bavaria – was used to produce cheese specialities such as emmental but was deemed to be “no longer in line with the strategic orientation of Arla’s stores in Germany and Europe”.
The sale also includes all of Arla’s shares in the French cheese processor Martin Sengelé Produits Laitiers – based in Muhlbach-sur-Munster, in the neighbouring Haut-Rhin commune of France – which are also being taken up by Vache Bleue.
The two operations have a combined production capacity of about 32,000 tons a year – 18,000 tons at the Bad Wörishofen plant, and the remainder through Martin Sengelé Produits Laitiers. They employ more than 120 people in total.
Belgium’s Vache Bleue, which translates as ‘blue cow’, is best known for its grated packaged cheeses including cheddar and emmental.
Arla said it had “succeeded in finding a buyer who will continue the work in Bad Wörishofen in its present form”, continuing that all employees at both sites would be retained.
Arla Foods has also reached an agreement with the Allgäu milk supply groups that Arla Foods’ existing milk yield will be transferred to Vache Bleue. In addition, it is anticipated that Vache Bleue will continue to produce cheese products for Arla so that the Danish dairy company can meet its current supply contracts with retail customers.
By Alex Clere
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