Canadian dairy company Saputo has agreed to acquire US goat’s cheese manufacturer Montchevre, less than a week after announcing a $1 billion deal for struggling Australian dairy business Murray Goulburn.
The acquisition will broaden Saputo’s presence in speciality cheeses and complements the $80 million acquisition of goat’s cheese producer Woolwich Dairy two years ago.
Montchevre, which is based in Wisconsin, turned over around CDN 150 million ($116 million) in the year to the end of June. It produces a variety of goat’s cheeses including flavoured goat’s cheese logs and medallions – with variants including jalapeño, garlic and herb, four pepper, and tomato basil. It also makes crumbled goat’s cheese spreads and varieties of cheddar, brie, blue cheese and feta using goat’s milk.
The company, whose name means ‘goat mountain’ in French, operates a manufacturing facility in Belmont, Wisconsin and employs 319.
In a post on the company’s Facebook page, Montchevre president Arnaud Solandt said it was ‘time to pass the buck’.
“The decision to proceed with the sale of the company we’ve built is not a selfish one,” he said. “It is based on the conviction that this alliance will provide a stronger, more secure market for our 500+ milk producers and will help propel Montchevre to new heights.
“For the past 20 years, Montchevre has been the leading goat cheese manufacturer in North America. Our success was built on our unique relationship with all of our milk producers. Many of these relationships started in our early years and today we take great pride in calling our producers our friends.
“As the milk they produce flows through our plant like the blood in our veins, we will forever be grateful to our producers as we know none of our successes have been possible without their hard work and dedication to quality.”
Solandt said that, over many years of working with Saputo, Montchevre had grown fond of the Canadian company’s ethics and commitment to quality.
“It is their vision for the future that has led us to this decision,” he said.
Montchevre will become the flagship brand of Saputo’s goat’s cheese division and Jean Rossard will remain the manager of Montchevre’s Belmont plant. Arnaud Solandt will become a senior advisor to Saputo, assisting in the development of its goat’s cheese division.
As well as its retail cheese, Montchevre produces products for foodservice and a full line of organic goat’s cheese, the only US manufacturer to produce non-GMO certified goat’s cheese.
Saputo is a Canadian dairy giant with turnover of CAD 11.16 billion ($8.65 billion) in the year to the end of March. It operates 50 plants and employs almost 13,000 people – mostly in North America – while its products are available in more than 40 different markets worldwide.
Last week it agreed to acquire the struggling Australian dairy business Murray Goulburn, which has amassed debts of AUD 445 million ($340 million), for the equivalent of $1 billion.
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