Arla’s eyes remain on Europe following Dutch deal

By Neil Merrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Arla, Milk, Arla foods

As Arla Foods drives ahead with plans to bolster its operations in whey and finished dairy products, the group says its latest acquisition highlights wider interest in the markets of Western and central Europe.

As the company today announced it has agreed terms to purchase the Netherlands-based fresh dairy operations of FrieslandCampina for an undisclosed fee, more growth could yet follow.

Company spokesperson Theis Brøgger said the deal, which he claims will make the company the second largest dairy group operating within the Netherlands, highlighted potential for growth even outside its core markets of North Europe.

“Arla operates in over 100 countries worldwide and is committed to becoming a major supplier of dairy goods and whey-protein products,”​ he told DairyReporter.com. “We are still looking for opportunities in Germany and Poland.”

Brand Boost

If regulatory approval is granted to acquire​Friesland Foods’ Fresh Nijkerk arm, Arla will gain control of all production equipment and land associated with the division as well as brands such like Breaker, Milk&Fruit and Melkunie.

Arla Foods says that it had previously served its Dutch consumers through export operations from its Scandinavian production sites.

However, completion of the deal would grant the group a pressence in the country for a variety of goods including milk products, natural & flavoured yoghurts, custards and porridge. The transaction is not expected to have any direct consequences on the jobs of about 500 staff employed at the site, including 150 temporary positions, claims the group.

Long-term plans

Back in November, Arla announced a long-term strategy to double sales of whey protein products. This commitment was backed by a 100 per cent increase in Arla’s development budget to target growth areas such as health and product taste.

Brøgger said that the Friesland deal was inline with these long-term aims and would grant the company a full range of dairy production operations across the EU.

Peter Tuborgh, Arla’s chief executive officer, added that the move also opened up a new core market for the company

“It is in perfect alignment with our strategy to become the preferred dairy for consumers in Northern Europe,”​ he stated. “We will respect all the current employment terms and conditions and intend to continue the operations and employee base as it is today.”

Friesland said that it was selling the Nijkerk operations as a condition of gaining clearance from European competition authorities to move ahead with its merger with Campina.

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