Dutch dairy cooperative FrieslandCampina has announced its intention to offload several brand rights, products and production sites to the Unternehmensgruppe Theo Müller.
The proposed transaction includes brands Landliebe, Tuffi, Puddis, Südmilch, and Mondelice, as well as various private labels in the white dairy range produced by FrieslandCampina in Germany.
FrieslandCampina is also hoping to sell its foodservice brand Gastro, as well as its production facilities, warehouses and distribution centres in Heilbronn, Cologne, and Schefflenz, under the deal.
According to Roel van Neerbos, who is both a Member of Royal FrielsandCampina’s Executive Board and President of FrielsandCampina Food & Beverage, the market position and results of FrielsandCampina Germany have ‘improved significantly’ in recent years through ‘targeted measures’.
Landliebe, which FrieslandCampina sells into Germany and Eastern Europe, was listed amongst the company’s top 10 consumer brands by revenue over this last financial year.
“Nonetheless, we are convinced that in the new owner, the Unternehmensgruppe Theo Müller, we have found a suitable successor who, through synergy benefits, will be able to further develop this company successfully.”
Analysis and review phase to extend into 2023
Family-owned Unternehmensgruppe Theo Müller confirmed last week it was in ‘promising talks’ with FrieslandCampina.
The Germany-headquartered multinational has a portfolio spanning dairy, fish and deli, dressings, sauces, and services businesses, which bring in annual sales of €7bn.
This week, the Member Council of Zuivelcoöperatie FrieslandCampina U.A. approved the sale of part of its German consumer business. The Germany competition authority’s decision on the proposed transaction is expected later this year.
“We expect a positive closing in autumn 2022,” a Unternehmensgruppe Theo Müller spokesperson told this publication.
At this stage, Müller could not disclose how the proposed transaction might impact headcount. It will only be possible to look at the ‘concrete details’ once everything has been transferred over, we were told.
“After that, we will carry out detailed checks and analyses in order to get a precise overview of productions sites and plans. This analysis and review phase will probably extend into 2023.”
If successful, five of FrieslandCampina’s brands will join Unternehmensgruppe Theo Müller’s German portfolio, which includes Müller Corner products, buttermilk, ‘Froop’ spoonable dairy, Loose branded cheese, and its milk-to-pudding offerings sold under the Sachsenmilch brand.
“We are convinced that this acquisition is a very fitting addition to our successful dairy products portfolio in the Germany market and will make a positive contribution to the growth course of the Unternehmensgruppe Theo Müller,” we were told.
Next steps for FrieslandCampina
FrieslandCampina is not planning to exit Germany completely. The cooperative will continue to collect and process milk from its German member dairy farmers, and for those farmers, the rights and obligations associated with membership of the cooperative remain unchanged.
The new owner will take over the supplier contracts of the German non-member dairy farmers.
FrieslandCampina Germany said that moving forward, it will focus on the marketing and sales of its international brands Valess, Chocomel, its cheese brands – including Frico and Holland Master – and private labels produced by FrieslandCampina outside Germany, including its cheese and cream spray cans.
The company will also continue its Professional business, and maintain its presence within the country via Kievit in Lippstadt and DFE Pharma in Goch and Nörten-Hardenberg.