Emmi has signed a purchase agreement for cheese distributor Fromalp Ltd. The contract with German owner Hochland SE will be implemented following approval by the Swiss Federal Competition Commission. Fromalp fits in well with Emmi’s international growth strategy. This acquisition will help boost the export of raclette and fondue. As Emmi CEO Urs Riedener said: “The integration of Fromalp’s international business will allow us to market speciality cheeses even better internationally, which will also benefit the Swiss dairy industry. Emmi is an established player in the agricultural sector and is a more credible exporter of Swiss cheese than a foreign company.” The Swiss cheese market was designated a free trade market in 2002, increasing competition. Over the past five years, imports have risen by almost 30%, while international exports have increased by just under 10%. Switzerland’s cheese trade balance has fallen by almost 4,000 tonnes during this period. Synergies for international growth Fromalp Ltd employed approximately 150 people in 2009 and generated sales of about CHF 100m. Its export share is 40%. Emmi will finance the acquisition of Fromalp using existing funds and credit lines. The contractual parties have agreed not to disclose details of the purchase price. This move gives Emmi the size to achieve international success and be accepted as a competent trading partner. Emmi will continue to use the current Fromalp building in Zollikofen for commercial purposes. Emmi aims to gain maximum benefit from existing synergies. This objective may mean that production in Zollikofen may be relocated, to other Emmi sites over the next few years. It’s possible that the Fromalp building will be converted to improve logistics. The production facility in Lützelflüh, managed by Fromalp, will remain in operation.
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