The 2017 Global Dairy Business Year in Review

Mark O'Keefe

See the significant mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures, new facilities, executive hires and marketing initiatives that occurred during 2017.

The U.S. Dairy Export Council’s weekly newsletter, Global Dairy eBrief, tracks global dairy business developments and summarizes what’s most important for our members. At the end of the year, we bundle all of the newsy nuggets in a single article that provides a month-by-month snapshot of the top headlines.

We begin our 2017 Global Dairy Business Review with the January 5 newsletter and end with the December 21 edition. We put company names in bold for easy scanning.

To get similarly packaged news from the last two years, see our 2016 and 2015reviews.

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China’s Mengniu Dairy increased its stake in milk producer China Modern Dairyfrom just over 25 percent to nearly 40 percent. The company reportedly paid $241 million for the additional shares, which it acquired from a joint venture controlled by CDH Fund IV and KKR China Growth Fund. Mengniu, which recently announced it would post a “substantial loss” in 2016, said the deal would help guarantee a stable supply raw milk. (Agrimoney.com, 1/5/17; Dow Jones Newswires, 1/4/17)

French dairy giant Lactalis is reportedly looking to buy all outstanding shares of Parmalat and delist the company from the Milan Stock Exchange . . . Japan’s Asahi Group Holdings is selling its Chinese dairy farming and processing operations to New Hope Dairy, part of Chinese ag conglomerate New Hope Group . . . Switzerland’s Emmi acquired an 80-percent stake in Spanish goat’s milk processor Lácteos Caprinos and all of California-based goat’s milk company Jackson-Mitchell Inc. . . . Thailand’s CP Foods acquired Minnesota-based frozen foods maker Bellisio Foods and a 33 percent stake in Polish poultry supplier SuperDrob(Company reports; Reuters, 12/27/16, Nikkei Asian Review, 12/22/16)

Wyeth Nutrition launched a liquid growing-up-milk in China via e-commerce channels. The imported product targets children aged 3-plus . . . A Finnish court upheld a ruling that will see Valio pay a €70-million fine (about US$73 million) for anti-competitive practices . . . Fonterra is investing US$4.4 million to expand and improve efficiency at its Susumas manufacturing plant in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia . . . Australian infant formula and nutrition firm Bubs raised A$5 million in an IPO on the Australian stock exchange. The company, which specializes in goat’s milk products, plans to use the money to expand in China and Southeast Asia. (USDEC China office; Company reports; FoodNavigator-Asia.com, 1/3/16; Uutiset, 12/29/16)

Chinese-owned Blue Lake Dairy Group completed phase 1 of a new infant and adult formula facility in Tantanoola, South Australia. Blue Lake will initially buy already-made powder and blend and package 20,000 tons annually at the plant. An A$50-million (about US$35-million) phase 2 will add milk powder drying capacity. The company plans to target China. (Food Magazine, 1/9/17)

Mengniu Dairy’s purchase of a bigger stake in China Modern Dairy last week triggered Hong Kong corporate rules requiring the company to make an offer to acquire all outstanding shares. The deal will cost an estimated $826 million on top of the $241 million the processor allocated the previous week. (USDEC China office)

McDonald’s sold an 80 percent stake in its Chinese operations to a consortium headed by Chinese state-owned Citic Ltd. and U.S. private equity firm Carlyle Group. The deal is the latest in a series of franchise agreements from quick-service restaurant chains looking to grow the business while shedding the cost and liabilities associated with company-owned stores. After the Chinese announcement, McDonald’s said it was also looking to sell a significant stake in its Japanese business. The Chinese consortium plans to open 1,500 new stores over the next five years, on top of 2,600-plus McDonald’s units already in Mainland China and Hong Kong. (USDEC China office; Wall Street Journal, 1/12/17, 1/9/17)

Troubled Australian infant formula company Bellamy’s Organic renegotiated supply contracts with New Zealand’s Fonterra Co-operative Group and Australia’s Bega Cheese to reduce minimum purchase amounts and limit further inventory buildup after Chinese sales fell significantly short of projections. The company then ousted CEO Laura McBain, replacing her temporarily with COO Andrew Cohen. Cohen cited changes to Chinese infant formula regulations for creating an environment of deep discounting and eroding Bellamy’s revenues. The company’s stock began trading again this week after a five-week halt. (The Australian, 1/12/17; Australian Financial Review, 1/11/17)

Tetra Pak agreed to pay Parmalat €16 million (about US$17 million) to settle a 20-year-old dispute over alleged payment of “discounts” directly to Parmalat owners rather than the company. The agreement included no admission of liability . . . DuPont Nutrition & Health is investing $60 million to expand dairy culture production sites in France and Germany due to rising global demand for starter cultures. (DairyReporter.com, 1/11/17)

New Zealand’s Fonterra Co-operative Group emphasized the progress of its efforts to channel more milk to high-value products with two announcements this week. The company is investing in a warehouse in South Korea to import and distribute more high-value products with a focus on cheese, including what is described as a new product “specifically designed for use on pizza.” The co-op highlighted the “huge potential” afforded by its rising duty-free cheese quota to South Korea under the New Zealand-Korea FTA. Separately, Fonterra touted a new “white” butter product it has begun marketing in the Middle East. Middle East processed cheese manufacturers prefer using white butter to the co-op’s standard deeper yellow butter produced from milk from grass-fed cows. Fonterra currently distributes the new butter in five Middle Eastern countries but plans to extend it to North Africa and South America. (Company reports)

Australia’s Bega Cheese paid A$460 million (about US$347 million) to acquire a range of Mondelez International’s Oceania grocery brands. The deal includes a Mondelez plant in Port Melbourne, Victoria, and Kraft branded cheese, mayonnaise and other products, but not Philadelphia cream cheese. (ABC Rural, 1/19/17)

German dairy processor Hochland acquired U.S. cream cheese maker Franklin Foods, including Franklin’s manufacturing plants in Arizona and Vermont. Hochland plans to use the business as a platform to bring its brands into the U.S. market. (Company news)

FrieslandCampina opened a foodservice demo center in Shanghai—its only such facility outside company headquarters in the Netherlands. Technical experts and chefs will provide customer assistance on a range of projects, including new product development, application solutions, flavor testing and marketing. (USDEC China office)

Leprino Foods Co. purchased a 49 percent stake in Brazil’s PICNIC Cheeses and Dairy Products . . . Switzerland’s Emmi acquired Italian dessert maker Italian Fresh Foods. Emmi expects the purchase to help expand its dessert presence in Canada, the Netherlands and the United States. (Company reports)

Nestlé broke ground on a new facility at its manufacturing site in Kurunegala, Sri Lanka, to expand capacity for dairy and coconut-based products . . . Philippine food and ag conglomerate Universal Robina earmarked US$144 million to expand factories across Southeast Asia, including building a new candy plant in Thailand, a new snack plant in Malaysia and a new cookie/biscuit line in Indonesia . . . New Zealand’s EasiYo, owned by Westland Milk Products, contracted with UK-based Ornua Nutrition Ingredients (ONI) to produce the company’s flagship make-at-home yogurt mixes for the European market. Ornua and Westland are adding a new blending/packing line at ONI’s Leek, UK, headquarters to support the partnership . . . Colorado-based Aurora Organic Dairy plans to build a $90-million manufacturing plant in Columbia, Mo. Aurora provided no further details about the project. (Nikkei Asian Review, 1/16/17; Lanka Business Online, 1/14/17; AP, 1/13/17; Agriland, 1/11/17)

In a sign of continued unrest in the Chinese infant formula sector, Beingmate Baby and Child Food slashed its full-year guidance, doubling its projected loss to US$109-$116 million. Beingmate investor Fonterra Co-operative Group said the announcement reflected overall challenging Chinese market conditions rather than any specific weakness of Beingmate’s. Fonterra reaffirmed its faith in the long-term potential of the Chinese formula sector, but indicated it expected a continued challenge through 2017 and into next year as new regulations governing infant formula enter into effect. The regulations, which limit the number of infant formula brands a company can market, among other requirements, are expected to slash the number of brands and labels on Chinese shelves from 2,000 to about 500. (BusinessDesk, 1/25/17)

FrieslandCampina is reportedly working with Jilin Zhongxin Dairy Co. and Singapore Sincere Lion to build a new infant formula manufacturing plant in Jilin City in the Jilin Province in northeast China. The $87 million project would produce 30,000 tons of formula annually. (USDEC China office)

Ireland’s Ornua purchased FJ Need (Foods) Ltd., a UK-based cheese converter servicing the foodservice and food manufacturing sectors. Ornua said it expects the purchase to increase its capacity to service British and international markets . . . Nestlé is reportedly considering a takeover of Mead Johnson Nutrition . . . Vietnam-based restaurant operator L Concepts, a subsidiary of Longfort Group, purchased Thai artisan pizza chain Scoozi Italian Restaurant(Deal Street Asia, 1/26/17; Agriland, 1/25/17; Bloomberg, 1/19/17)

Ireland’s Dairygold and Glanbia Ingredients Ireland agreed to extend a decade-old contract-manufacturing agreement by three years. Under the deal, Dairygold processes milk into cheese, whey and/or SMP for Glanbia, and Glanbia processes cream into butter and buttermilk powder for Dairygold . . . Lithuanian dairy Vilkyskiu Pienine sent its first cheese shipment to China: 20 tons of mozzarella. The company has been working to develop alternate markets since Russia implemented its dairy ban in 2014. (Agriland, 1/24/17; The Baltic Course, 1/17/17)

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Arla Foods increased its 2017 capital investment budget to €335 million (about US$358 million), nearly 50 percent more than the previous year. The company slated a series of projects aimed at moving more milk into higher-value ingredients and branded retail and foodservice products. Major projects include:

  • €31 million to upgrade and expand its Denmark Protein plant in Videbæk, Denmark. The project is the company’s largest single expenditure for the year and aims to support its goal to become a global leader in high-value whey ingredients across food and beverage categories.
  • €13 million to upgrade and expand mozzarella production at its Rødkærsbro, Denmark, plant to target the international pizza foodservice sector.
  • €12 million to rebuild processing, filling and packaging lines for spreadable cheese and cream cheese at its Holstebro, Denmark, facility.

To read the full Arla release on its spending plans, click here(Company reports)

Glanbia plc, Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) and Foremost Farms USA are planning to build a joint-venture cheese and whey production facility in Michigan. Glanbia will own half the joint venture and handle all operational and commercial aspects of the business; the three co-ops will own the other half, supplying a projected 8 million lbs. of milk per day. Should the project proceed as planned, the companies expect to commission the plant in the second half of 2019. Glanbia said the venture would expand its global position as a producer of American-style cheddar and whey protein. (Company reports)

Britain’s Reckitt Benckiser Group says it is in advanced negotiations to acquire Mead Johnson Nutrition . . . Canada’s Saputo made an offer to buy the 12 percent of Australia’s Warrnambool Cheese and Butter that it does not already own. Saputo plans to delist the company from the Australian Securities Exchange . . . Vietnam’s Vinamilk signed a strategic partnership agreement with Bangladeshi distributor Bigbiz that will see the companies work together to accelerate the rollout of Vinamilk milk powder, yogurt and other products in Bangladesh . . . Restaurant Brands International is teaming with a group of Mexican investors to bring the Tim Hortons chain to Mexico. (USDEC Vietnam office; Bloomberg, 2/1/17; Queensland Country Life, 1/30/17; AP, 1/27/17)

Ireland’s Aurivo Co-operative Society is investing €5 million to upgrade its Ballaghaderreen, County Roscommon, manufacturing plant. The project is part of a multi-year expansion to meet rising global demand for milk powder and butter . . . Fonterra made its first sale of individually quick frozen mozzarella to Brazil for pizza restaurant Cantina Castelões(Company reports; Agriland, 1/26/17)

FrieslandCampina CEO Roelof Joosten and Engro Corp. Chairman Hussain Dawood met with Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to discuss joint efforts to develop Pakistan’s dairy sector. FrieslandCampina acquired a majority stake in Pakistani dairy processor Engro last year for about $450 million. The World Bank’s International Finance Corp. recently announced it was providing $145 million in financing to FrieslandCampina for the acquisition to help spur Pakistan dairy sector growth. The nation is currently dealing with a widespread milk adulteration scandal that is testing consumer faith in the industry. Roelof and Dawood highlighted the need for the private sector to work with the government to bring the local dairy industry up to par with international standards and contribute to its overall development. (Company reports; The News, 2/4/17)

 

Glanbia plc paid a combined €181 million (about US$194 million) for Grass Advantage LLC (also known as Amazing Grass) and Body & Fit. Glanbia said the companies “provide a strong strategic fit” with its Performance Nutrition division, “extending its reach to new customers and channels.” California-based Amazing Grass, which owns a portfolio of organic and non-GMO consumer brands based on cereal grasses, gives Glanbia a foot in the door in the plant-based nutrition market. Body & Fit is a Dutch direct-to-consumer (DTC) marketer of performance nutrition products with sales centered in Germany and the Benelux region. (Company reports)

Nestlé USA is moving its headquarters from Glendale, California, to Rosslyn, Virginia. The new site will house corporate functions and its beverage, confections and global foods divisions, among other departments. In conjunction with the move, the company is also investing $50 million in a new Nestlé Development Center for frozen and chilled foods in Solon, Ohio, which will also serve as the new home for its technical and production organization and supply chain teams. Separately, it is expanding capacity at its Eau Claire, Wisconsin, facility to boost output of nutritional products, including infant formula, medical nutrition products and nutritional drinks. The project will increase annual output from 100,000 tons to 120,000 tons. (Company reports)

Dubai Investment Industries sold Dubai-based dairy processor Marmum Dairy Farm and its distribution unit United Sales Partners to UAE-based agricultural firm Elite Agro LLC(CPI Financial, 2/8/17)

Latvian dairy processor Food Union secured $225 million in funding from private equity firms PAG Group and Meridian Capital to support growth plans, including completion of two manufacturing plants in China. It now expects to complete the facilities by early 2018 . . . Hungarian dairy processor Alföldi Tej is building a $41 million dairy manufacturing plant in Debrecen, Hungary. The plant will produce 8,500 tons of cheese and 7,000 tons of milk powder annually. Alföldi Tej recently completed a Chinese regulatory audit to clear the way for exports to China . . . British cheese exporter Somerdale International made its first shipment to the Philippines through Philippines-based supplier Bacchus Epicerie(Company reports; ActMedia, 2/8/16; Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, 2/8/17; DairyReporter.com, 2/7/17)

Colorado-based global medical nutrition company PanTheryx purchased USDEC members APS BioGroup, Phoenix, and La Belle Associates, Bellingham, Washington. APS and La Belle are leading producers of colostrum and related nutrition products. PanTheryx uses colostrum in its DiaResQ treatment for diarrhea and lauds its health and wellness attributes, but says “its full potential has yet to be realized.” The company expects the acquisitions to help it advance colostrum research and expand commercial opportunities. (Company reports) 

Ari Mervis took over as CEO and managing director of Australia’s Murray Goulburn Co-operative (MG) this week and immediately attempted to win over members still angry over last year’s surprise retroactive milk price cut. Mervis plans to hold multiple regional meetings to engage membership and discuss the company and industry direction. Around 400 members left the co-op over the past 10 months, either defecting to other processors or retiring. Poor Australian weather coupled with the departures have significantly reduced milk flows and reportedly caused MG to fast-track a review of four processing facilities for potential closure. The plants are all in Victoria in Koroit, Leongatha, Maffra and Rochester. (Company reports; Riverine Herald, 2/7/17)

France’s Lactalis reportedly paid $106 million for China’s Jiangsu Taizi Dairy . . . UK-based drug, personal care and household products company Reckitt Benckiser paid £13.3 billion (about US$16.6 billion) for Mead Johnson Nutrition . . . Italian cheesemaker Granarolo is looking to make a U.S. acquisition by the end of the year. (USDEC China office; Wall Street Journal, 2/10/17; Dairy Markets, 2/10/17)

Feihe International provided additional information about the infant formula plant it is building in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. The company expects to open the plant by the end of 2019 and export about 80 percent of the facility’s output to Asia . . . Danone unveiled a new efficiency program called “Protein” that it says will yield €1 billion (about US$1.1 billion) in savings by 2020. It did not release details . . . UK infant formula company Kendal Nutricare inked a deal that triples its Chinese retail sales reach to 6,000 stores . . . Irish food promotion agency Bord Bia opened a new office in Warsaw, Poland, from which the group plans to target 11 Central and Eastern European countries to expand exports . . . Vietnamese restaurant company Max’s Group plans to open at least 12 Yellow Cab Pizzaoutlets in Vietnam over the next five years. The move follows deals in 2016 to extend the Yellow Cab Pizza brand into China and the Pancake House chain to Qatar. (USDEC China office; USDEC Vietnam office; Company reports; Irish Independent, 2/10/17; Dairy Markets, 2/10/17)

Ireland’s Glanbia Co-operative Society purchased a 60 percent stake in Glanbia plc’s Dairy Ireland division, which includes Glanbia Consumer Products and Glanbia Agribusiness. The co-op and the plc formed a new joint venture called Glanbia Ireland to operate the two business as well as their existing partnership, Glanbia Ingredients Ireland. Glanbia Co-op said the deal will help provide the strong cash flow necessary to expand processing capacity to handle a 30 percent increase in member milk deliveries by 2020. (Company reports; Agriland, 2/22/17)

 

Atlanta-based Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals purchased a shuttered Dean Foodsplant in Belleville, Pennsylvania, and plans to reopen the facility as a cheese and ingredient manufacturer. Hi-Tech says it is making “a multi-million-dollar investment to increase capacity and expand receiving” and hopes to begin processing “in the coming months.” The plant will manufacture a variety of cheeses (including Italian varieties), whey ingredients, liquid nutraceuticals, dietary supplements, RTD beverages and other drinks. (Company reports)

Restaurant Brands International (RBI) offered about $1.6 billion to buy chicken outlet Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen. RBI, which owns the Burger King and Tim Hortons chains, said it sees huge growth potential for Popeye’s in Asia . . . Canada’s Saputo acquired another 10 percent of Australia’s Warrnambool Cheese & Butter, lifting its total ownership in the company to more than 98 percent . . . Chilean dairy and food company Watt’s obtained regulatory approval to purchase Danone’s Chilean operations, including a plant in Chillán and the Calán trademark. The deal included a long-term license for Watt’s to make and market certain Danone brands. (Company reports; Reuters, 2/22/17; The Australian, 2/21/17; Wall Street Journal, 2/21/17)

Australia’s Coca-Cola Amatil is closing a manufacturing plant in South Australia and building a new A$90-million facility (about US$69 million) in Richlands, Queensland, that will manufacture dairy beverages among other products
. . . Ireland’s Kerry Group named Edmond Scanlon to replace retiring CEO Stan McCarthy when McCarthy steps down at the end of September. Scanlon is currently chief executive of Kerry’s Asia-Pacific operations . . . After a successful test run at a Seattle location, Starbucks plans to roll out ice cream at more than 100 outlets . . . Creditors of Australian milk broker National Dairy Products voted to liquidate the company. (Sydney Morning Herald, 2/22/17; The Weekly Times, 2/22/17; Irish Independent, 2/21/17; Seattle Times, 2/14/17)

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Mead Johnson Nutrition (MJN) paid A$200 million (about US$154 million) for one of four spray dryers at Bega Cheese’s Tatura Milk plant in Victoria, Australia, and Bega’s Derrimut, Victoria, infant milk powder finishing plant. MJN purchased the facilities to support business in China. Bega had been a certified supplier for the company since 2009. The deal included a 10-year agreement under which Bega will continue to run the facilities and supply existing customers. (Company reports; The Weekly Times, 2/27/17)

Italy’s Parmalat paid €100 million (about US$105 million) for Chilean cheese and butter maker La Vaquita . . . New Zealand’s A2 Milk paid NZ$48 million (about US$35 million) for an 8 percent stake in infant formula maker Synlait Milk, strengthening the companies’ existing business ties . . . Japan’s Morinaga & Co.and Morinaga Milk Industry plan to merge to capitalize on operating efficiencies. The only overlap between the two businesses is frozen desserts . . . Canada’s Saputo has moved to compulsorily acquire the outstanding 1.1 percent of Warrnambool Cheese & Butter that it does not already own . . . Tetra Pakpurchased Wisconsin-based cheese manufacturing specialist Johnson Industries International(Diario Financiero, 3/3/17; DairyReporter.com, 3/3/17; The Australian, 3/2/17; The Weekly Times, 2/28/17; Nikkei Asian Review, 2/24/17)

Fonterra Co-operative Group has begun distributing its Anchor and Mainlandretail dairy brands in Puerto Rico and launched NZMP low-lactose instant WMP in the Middle East at this week’s Gulfood show . . . UK-based foodservice cheese manufacturer Prima Cheese is spending £3 million (about US$3.5 million) to increase capacity by 50 percent to service growing export markets in the Middle East, Hong Kong, Dominican Republic and Taiwan . . . UAE-based retailer Lulu Group plans to add 20 hypermarkets to its Saudi Arabian operations by 2020, nearly tripling its presence in the nation . . . Saputo Cheese USA is creating a regional headquarters in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, absorbing its Richfield, Wisconsin, office. (USDEC Middle East office; Company reports; Insider Media, 2/24/17; Biz Times, 2/23/17)

PepsiCo reportedly made a $1.9 billion bid for Brazilian dairy processor Fábrica de Produtos Alimenticios Vigor. France’s Lactalis and Mexico’s Grupo Lala were also reported as suitors. (Reuters, 3/8/17)

Philippines-based San Miguel PureFoods is considering creating an export hub in Malaysia, including building a halal dairy or meat processing facility . . . Fonterraappointed current CFO Lukas Paravicini to COO, global consumer and foodservice, effective June 1, 2017. Paravicini replaces Jacqueline Chow . . . Chobani named former Nestlé Waters North America CEO Tim Brown as its new president and COO. (Company reports; Bernama, 3/8/17; FoodNavigator-USA.com, 3/6/17)

Argentina’s largest dairy co-operative SanCor is seeking government aid to keep the business afloat. Sharply lower WMP exports to Venezuela and late payments for product already shipped to that country triggered a severe cash crunch for the processor. After the government rejected a request for AR$4 billion (about US$260 million) in assistance earlier this year, SanCor submitted a new restructuring plan that includes the permanent closure of four facilities and elimination of 1,000 jobs. The four closed plants are cheese manufacturing facilities located in Brinkman, Moldes, Centeno and Charlone. The Moldes plant makes hard cheeses for export markets. SanCor suspended activities at the four facilities in February in a move that was considered temporary at the time. (Dairy Markets, 3/14/17)

Nestlé is reportedly close to finalizing a deal with the Cuban government to build a $50-$60 million joint-venture manufacturing plant in Cuba to make coffee, biscuits and cooking products . . . Australia’s Midfield Group is proceeding with construction on its Penola, South Australia, milk powder processing plant, but indefinitely postponed an A$100-million (about US$76-million) Phase II addition that would have extended capabilities to other types of milk products. The company blamed soaring energy costs . . . Wal-Mart Stores plans to spend $320 million over the next three years to upgrade its hypermarkets in Brazil. The company has been losing share to other retail formats, like c-stores and warehouse stores. (The Advertiser, 3/13/17; Wall Street Journal, 3/12/17; Reuters, 3/8/17)

Bel Vietnam, a subsidiary of the French cheesemaker Bel Group, inaugurated a €13 million (about US$14 million) cheese plant in the southern province of Binh Duong on March 16. The plant, Bel’s second in the country, can produce 10,000 tons of processed cheese per year. The company said it plans to use it as a supply hub for Southeast Asia. (USDEC Vietnam office)

Unilever is reportedly seeking buyers for some of its food brands, including Storkbutter and Flora margarine . . . France’s Lactalis extended its buyout offer on Parmalat after its latest price-per-share offer failed to push its ownership stake above the 90 percent level needed to delist the Italian dairy supplier. Lactalis’s stake now sits at 89.6 percent. (Reuters, 3/22/17; 3/18/17)

Ornua began shipping Kerrygold brand cheese to Singapore. It is marketing the line at retailers and via ecommerce websites . . . Uruguayan dairy processors are struggling with reduced milk flows and the cumulative effect of two years of low international commodity prices. Indulacsa Industria Lactea Salteña shuttered its Salto cheese plant and Coleme implemented a partial closure of its Cerro Lago facility to cut costs. (Food Ingredients First, 3/22/17; El País, 3/11/17, 3/10/17)

China’s Yili Industrial Group completed Stage 2 of its Oceania Dairy facility in Glenavy on New Zealand’s South Island. The expansion includes capacity to process UHT milk, package 30,000 tons/year of infant formula, dry 56,000 tons/year of WMP, and produce 16 tons/year of functional dairy proteins, including lactoferrin. The project takes Yili’s total investment in Oceania to NZ$600 million (about US$422 million). Yili used the occasion of the plant opening to launch Oceania’s new infant formula brand for the Chinese market: Pro-Kido Ruihu(USDEC China office; NZFarmer.co.nz, 3/25/17)

FrieslandCampina says that its 50/50 Chinese joint venture, Friesland Huishan Dairy, was operating as normal despite severe business concerns regarding its partner China Huishan Dairy Holdings. China Huishan’s stock plummeted by 85% in an hour due to rumors of mismanagement and financial instability. (Reuters, 3/29/17, 3/28/17)

Vietnam’s Vinamilk paid $11 million to buy out its Cambodian joint venture partner in Angkor Dairy Product Co. Vinamilk and BPC Trading formed Angkor in 2013 and completed a Cambodian processing facility last year. Vinamilk plans to double the plant’s milk-processing capacity to 38 million liters per year and triple its yogurt output to 192 million cups per year by 2024. (Viet Nam News, 3/24/17)

Japanese confectionery company Morinaga and dairy processor Morinaga Milk Industry called off a proposed merger . . . Land O’Lakes purchased goat cheese and butter maker Vermont Creamery(Company reports; Nikkei Asian Review, 3/31/17)

Cargills Quality Dairies, a subsidiary of Cargills Ceylon plc, plans to open its new Kotmale dairy plant in Gaspe, Sri Lanka, in early April. Cargills, which manufactures milk, yogurt, ice cream and other dairy lines, is calling the factory a “multi-product” facility although it did not name which products . . . South Korea’s Maeil Dairy Industry plans to change its name to Maeil Holdings. (TheDairySite, 3/27/17; Reuters, 3/25/17)

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Australian dairy and food company Beston Global Food sold its stake in vertically integrated organic dairy processor and exporter B.-d. Farm Paris Creek as well as one of its dairy farms for A$7 million (about US$5.3 million) . . . Danone is seeking a buyer for its Stonyfield yogurt business to clear antitrust issues associated with its WhiteWave acquisition . . . European investment firm JAB Holding, owner of a range of brands including Caribou Coffee and Krispy Kreme, purchased Panera Bread Co. for about $7.2 billion . . . Reckitt Benckiser is conducting a strategic review of its food businesses to offset some of the costs of its Mead Johnson Nutrition purchase. (Wall Street Journal, 4/5/17; FoodBev.com, 4/5/17; DairyReporter.com, 4/3/17; Wall Street Journal, 3/31/17)

New Zealand plant expansion projects illustrate effort to shift product mix: New Zealand dairy processors continue to invest in diversifying output, shifting more volume to higher-value products. In addition to Yili Industrial Group’s recent completion of Stage 2 of its Oceania Dairy plant, recent reports note at least four other projects in the works:

  • Fonterra is installing two 1-liter UHT cream lines at Waitoa to produce 120 million liters annually, much of it for the China market. The project comes less than three years after the co-op opened its original 1-liter cream line. Once completed, the facility will boast seven UHT lines in all.
  • Mataura Valley Milk, owned by China Animal Husbandry Group, is reportedly on track to open its South Island nutritional powder plant in McNab this August. The plant will also make UHT cream and SMP. The company earlier reported the facility would produce 140 tons/day of nutritional powders.
  • Synlait Milk is in the midst of a project to expand its wet blending capacity to 80,000 tons per year and reportedly double canning capacity to 60,000 tons.
  • Maori-owned Kawerau Dairy is building an NZ$33 million (about US$23 million) powder plant in Kawerau on the North Island. Stage 1 will handle cow’s milk. A second drier for goat and sheep’s milk is slated for stage 2. The company says it will manufacture infant formula, protein powders and other products and expects to complete the first stage by late 2018. (USDEC staff; NZFarmer.co.nz, 4/12/17; Radio New Zealand, 4/7/17)

Arla Foods is spending €12 million (about US$12.7 million) to add infant formula capacity to its AKAFA production site in Svenstrup, Denmark. Arla said its infant formula sales are growing by double-digits and expected global demand to continue to drive such growth in the coming years. The company plans to complete the project and begin production by August 2018. (Company reports)

Creditors increased the pressure on troubled Chinese dairy producer and processor China Huishan Dairy Holdings. HSBC Holdings claimed the dairy violated terms of a $200 million loan agreement, while Gopher Asset Management successfully froze $80 million in Huishan assets through a Shanghai court. Prior to those actions, Huishan met government authorities and creditors to convince lenders to refrain from calling in loans or filing suits. The previous week, four non-executive directors resigned from the board and the executive director who ran treasury operations for the group remains missing. (Reuters, 4/11/17, 4/2/17; Dow Jones Newswires, 4/10/17; Straits Times, 4/3/17)

New Zealand’s Synlait Milk and Australia’s Bellamy’s Organic are rumored suitors for Melbourne, Australia-based infant formula contract manufacturer Blend and Pack. Blend and Pack is one of the few Australian and New Zealand companies approved by Chinese authorities to export infant formula to the country . . . German frozen food company FRoSTA AG is negotiating to purchase Nestlé Italiana’s frozen foods business. (NZFarmer.co.nz, 4/12/17; DairyReporter.com, 4/10/17; The Australian, 3/31/17)

Germany’s Privatmolkerei Naarmann signed a deal with an unnamed Pakistani distributor to begin shipping bag-in-box UHT milk to Pakistan. The package features a dispensing system that allows 10 days of unrefrigerated use. Naarmann specializes in dairy-based foodservice products . . . California-based hamburger chain Umami Burger opened its first international outlet in Tokyo. (USDEC Japan office; Company reports)

ADPI presented the first Dairy Ingredient Innovation Award to USDEC member Agropur for its casein-derived high-purity glycomacropeptide (GMP) . . . FrieslandCampina plans to begin exporting its Frico butter to China this year and start marketing its Chocomel chocolate milk and an adult milk powder to China through cross-border e-commerce sites. (Company news; China Daily, 4/25/17)

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Australia’s largest dairy processor Murray Goulburn Co-operative (MG) plans to close three manufacturing facilities as part of a companywide review aimed at adapting to smaller milk flows and getting the co-op back on the growth track after last year’s farmgate milk price debacle. MG will shut down a UHT plant in Edith Creek, Tasmania, a fresh dairy products plant in Kiewa, Victoria, and a cheese and powder facility in Rochester, Victoria. Kiewa will close by the second quarter of 2018; the Victoria facilities will begin staged shutdowns beginning this August. The company officially called off investment plans to expand dairy beverage and nutritional capacity in Koroit, Victoria. It also is forgiving A$148 million (about US$111 million) in farmer debts accrued through the Milk Supply Support Package (MSSP) scheme designed to prop up 2015/16 producer payments after last year’s retroactive price cut. The bungled price cut and the MSSP are major reasons for the reduced milk flows that forced the plant rationalization plan. Days before the announcement, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission filed federal court proceedings against MG, alleging the co-op “engaged in unconscionable conduct and made false or misleading representations” in the lead-up to the price cut. Former Managing Director Gary Helou and former CFO Bradley Hingle could face large fines for their roles in events. (Company reports; news.co.au, 5/3/17; BusinessDesk, 4/28/17; ABC News, 4/28/17)

Switzerland’s Emmi acquired a 40 percent stake in Brazil’s Laticínios Porto Alegre Indústria Comércio. The company manufactures cheese, UHT milk, butter and whey powder at facilities in Ponte Nova and Mutum, in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. This is Emmi’s second investment in South America. The company also owns a majority stake in Chilean dairy processor Surlat. (Company reports)

China’s Yili Industrial Group scrapped plans announced last October to purchase a 37 percent stake in Shengmu Organic Milk. The companies said they failed to receive approval from Chinese regulators . . . Parmalat subsidiary LAG Holding acquired California-based specialty dairy processor Karoun Dairies Inc.. . . India’s Heritage Foods is reportedly entering a joint venture with an unnamed European dairy firm to manufacture and market yogurt in India . . . Chile’s Soprole is seeking a buyer for its Dos Álamos cheese brand. (Company reports; Press Trust of India, 4/24/17; Dairy Markets, 4/21/17)

New Zealand’s Open Country Dairy is reportedly building a new processing plant in Horotiu on the North Island. The company said it expects to begin processing in spring 2018, but provided no details on product lines or capacity . . . Vietnam’s Vinamilk earmarked US$750 million over the next five years to boost milk production and processing capacity. It also overhauled its governance, adding three independent directors to the board with an eye toward attracting investment . . . Fonterra launched its first Anchor milk pop-up store in a mega-mall in Shanghai. The store lures shoppers with pastoral videos of New Zealand dairy farms, interactive games and product sampling. (Company reports; NZFarmer.co.nz, 5/1/17; Nikkei Asian Review, 4/27/17)

Arla Foods Ingredients launched a new online platform for individuals, businesses and experts involved with whey protein and lactose to share news and opinions and bounce ideas off each other. Titled “The Whey and Protein Blog”—www.thewheyprotein.blog—Arla said the site is not a commercial channel, so promoting brands, companies and products is not allowed. (Company reports)

Indonesian dairy processor PT Greenfields, a subsidiary of Australia’s AustAsia Dairy Group, officially opened its new $25 million dairy plant in Malang, East Java. The plant will manufacture a range of products, including milk, yogurt and cheese, mainly for domestic demand. About 30 percent of PT Greenfields sales come from exports. (Jakarta Post, 5/4/17)

New Zealand’s Fonterra Co-operative Group will pay its Australian suppliers an additional A$0.40/kgMS on top of a projected payout of A$5.30-A$5.70/kgMS for the 2017/18 season starting in July. Media reports suggest the bonus is aimed at mollifying members who might be looking to recoup money they believe Fonterra owes them for the 2015/16 season. That expectation stems from last week’s restructuring announcement by Australia’s Murray Goulburn Co-operative (MG). MG’s shakeup essentially equates to a retroactive increase in the 2015/16 farmgate milk price for its members. Because Fonterra is bound by contract to at least match the MG price for its Australian milk suppliers, its Australian suppliers believe the co-op owes them around A$64 million (about US$47 million). Some have vowed to take legal action to recover the money. Fonterra said it is investigating the matter and will provide an update as soon as possible. The co-op did not clarify whether the 2017/18 farmgate price and bonus announcement was its response to the issue. (The Weekly Times, 5/9/17; NZFarmer.co.nz, 5/4/17)

China’s Yili Industrial Group is reportedly the front runner to acquire Danone’s Stonyfield Farm business with an $850-million bid for the U.S. yogurt maker. Dean Foods is also still in the running . . . Dean Foods took a minority stake in flaxseed-based beverage and yogurt maker Good Karma Foods . . . Norway’s Orkla Food Ingredients bought German ice cream ingredient sales and distribution company Eis Ludwig Gräbner. The deal follows Orkla’s March purchase of Dutch ice cream ingredients and accessories supplier Laan Heiloo(Company reports; MarketWatch, 5/10/17)

China’s state-owned food holding company COFCO said it is looking to buy more dairy products from Europe to meet rising demand . . . Danone’s U.S. division Dannon Co. is spending $25 million to build a 300,000-sq.-ft. refrigerated distribution center at its Minster, Ohio, yogurt plant . . . Hong Kong securities regulator ordered a trading halt for China Huishan Dairy Holding, indefinitely extending a suspension that’s been in place for more than a month due to concerns over the company’s finances . . .  Aurora Organic Dairy broke ground on a new $90-million milk and butter processing plant in Columbia, Missouri. (Reuters, 5/8/17, 5/4/17; Dayton Business Journal, 5/4/17; Columbia Daily Tribune, 5/4/17)

Hong Kong-headquartered Ausnutria Dairy bolstered its infant formula and functional milk powder capacity with the acquisition of Australian Dairy Park (ADP) and purchase of a 50 percent stake in Ozfarm. ADP is one of a handful of Australian formula manufacturers registered in China and cleared by the China’s Certification and Accreditation Administration (CNCA) to export. Ozfarm is a leading Australian infant, adult and specialty medical formula marketer. ADP manufactures all of Ozfarm’s products. Ausnutria, which owns facilities in China and the Netherlands and operates a joint venture with New Zealand’s Westland Milk Products, said the deal is part of its “Go Global” strategy to extend its supply network and broaden its product portfolio. (Company reports)

Arla Foods opened a new global innovation center in Aarhus, Denmark. The company says the facility will allow it to “vastly” accelerate innovation processes, providing a quicker route from idea to finished food or beverage product. For more information on the facility and how Arla plans to use it, read the company’s press release here.

Eli Lilly Elanco US Inc. initiated a legal action against Arla Foods demanding that Arla cease its anti-rbST “Live Unprocessed” ad campaign. The campaign is built upon a child’s interpretation of what rbST is, and then brings that perception to life as an animated, six-eyed monster with “razor-sharp” horns and electrified fur. Elanco claims the campaign clearly deceives consumers with false notions about the safety of rbST, a product that scientific authorities and regulators in more than 50 countries have deemed safe. The campaign includes TV commercials and significant online components through Arla’s web page and social media resources. A full copy of the complaint is available through Courthouse News here(Company reports)

New Zealand dairy processor Miraka signed a memorandum of understanding with Malaysian distributor Storiiu under which Storiiu will market the company’s Whai Ora line of smoothies. The deal marks Miraka’s first international consumer partnership. The company plans to launch Whai Ora in the Philippines and Singapore after the Malaysia roll-out. (FoodNavigator-Asia.com, 5/17/17)

Fonterra reopened its Susumas milk powder facility in Shah Alam, Malaysia, after a US$5 million project to improve efficiency. The company considers the Susumas operation and its sister facility Dairymas a regional manufacturing hub from which it can service rising demand in Southeast Asia and the Middle East. Fonterra predicts Southeast Asian dairy consumption will rise 7-8 percent per year vs. global consumption growth of 2-3 percent. (Bernama, 5/16/17; The Star, 5/16/17)

Wall Street Journal reports that Mexico’s Grupo Lala has emerged as the leading bidder for Danone’s Stonyfield Farm yogurt business, ahead of China’s Yili Industrial Group . . . A sale of Brazil’s Fábrica de Produtos Alimenticios Vigorlooks to be back on again. Parent company JBS is reportedly working on a plan to sell several assets, including its dairy business. Earlier this year, several companies were rumored suitors for Vigor, before JBS paused the process . . . France’s Lactalis bought German dairy co-op OMIRA and its two plants in Neuberg an der Donau and Ravensburg . . . Glanbia Co-operative Societymembers and Glanbia plc shareholders approved the proposed creation of a new joint venture: Glanbia Ireland. Co-op farmers will share a €100-million payout (about US$112 million) as part of the deal . . . Thailand’s F&N Dairy Investmentspurchased another 1 percent of Vietnam’s Vinamilk, giving it a total stake of just over 17 percent . . . Italian dairy processor Granarolo purchased a majority stake in Greek dairy distributor Quality Brands International(Reuters, 5/24/17; FoodBev.com, 5/24/17; Agriland, 5/22/17; Wall Street Journal, 5/17/17; DairyReporter.com, 5/16/17; Vietnam Net Bridge, 5/12/17)

France’s Danone and joint venture partner Abraaj Group invested $25 million to add three new production lines to their Fan Milk manufacturing plant in Accra, Ghana to sustain growing dairy demand in West Africa . . . Vinamilk says it signed a memorandum of understanding with an unnamed Chinese partner to begin exporting on a regular basis to China, starting with infant formula, condensed milk and yogurt. (Company reports; Nikkei Asian Review, 5/15/17)

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New Zealand’s Synlait Milk acquired New Zealand Dairy Co. (NZDC), including NZDC’s Mangere, North Island, infant formula manufacturing site that is still under construction. Synlait said the plant, when finished in October 2017, will “substantially” lift its blending and canning capacity. The company will seek certification of the new facility from New Zealand’s Ministry of Primary Industries and China’s Certification and Accreditation Administration (CNCA) for infant formula manufacturing and export. Synlait’s outlay for the deal will be NZ$56.5 million (about US$40 million), including the cost of completing the Mangere plant. (Company reports)

Yum! Brands plans to add 100 Taco Bell stores each to Canada, China, Brazil and India in a push to grow the Mexican food chain’s international presence . . . Nestlé officially opened a new factory in Hung Yen, Vietnam, to manufacture ready-to-drink Milo and develop new nutritional beverages for the Vietnamese market . . . Vietnam’s Huy Vietnam Group is spending $40 million to build two manufacturing plants to service its 200-unit restaurant operation and to process foods for export. (USDEC Vietnam office; Company reports; Bloomberg, 5/25/17)

New Zealand’s Fonterra is spending NZ$20 million (about US$14 million) to expand its Te Rapa, North Island, manufacturing plant to meet rising demand for butter and cream cheese in Asia. Two additional cream cheese lines will increase output from 30,000 tons to 33,500 tons per year, while a new butter line will more than double production of “mini-dish” portions to 650 million annually. Fonterra reports that demand for both products is exceeding supply, “particularly out of China.” (NZFarmer.co.nz, 6/2/17)

Troubled Australian dairy Murray Goulburn Co-operative (MG) launched a second strategic review to examine “all aspects” of its strategy and corporate structure. Reaching its projected farmgate price of A$5.20-5.40/kgMS in 2017/18 depends on further cost cuts, the co-op said. The announcement comes a little more than a month after an initial review saw the company revamp its farmgate payouts and announce three plant closures. CEO Ari Mervis said the proposed closures alone were insufficient “to move the business forward.” MG also announced it was killing a number of brands and product lines at the end of November in conjunction with the already announced plant closures. The company opted for discontinuation rather than move relevant equipment to alternate facilities. (Company reports; ShareCafe, 6/7/17)

U.S. investment fund Arlon Group bought a 20 percent stake in Brazilian dairy manufacturer CBL Alimentos for an estimated $100-120 million. CBL, also known as Betânia, operates five manufacturing plants and owns a variety of brands. (Milkpoint, 6/2/17)

Mexico’s Grupo Lala is building a new $30-million dairy plant in Escuintla, Guatemala. The plant will reportedly manufacture UHT milk and formula, cream cheese and ice cream . . . Mondelez International is selling its condensed milk plant at its Cadbury manufacturing facility in Dunedin on New Zealand’s South Island . . . Zimbabwe’s Probrands is building a $4-million UHT plant in the city of Ruwa . . . Canada’s Ultima Foods is investing US$11 million on a new drinkable yogurt manufacturing line at its Granby, Quebec, plant . . . Problems continue for China’s Huishan Dairy. The company reported a $370-million “discrepancy” in its books and is talking with creditors about a debt restructuring. All board members except its chairman have left since the company’s stock plunged in March based on rumors of mismanagement . . . Teagasc, Ireland’s Agriculture and Food Development Authority, projects the country will need 6,000 more people to enter dairy farming by 2025 to account for retirement and industry growth. (USDEC Mexico office; AP, 6/6/17; DairyReporter.com, 6/6/17; South China Morning Post, 6/5/17, Wall Street Journal, 5/29/17; The Herald, 6/5/17; BusinessDay, 6/3/17; Agriland, 6/2/17)

Australian infant formula company Bellamy’s Organic purchased a 90 percent stake in the Camperdown Powder canning facility in Melbourne and renegotiated its milk powder supply agreement with Fonterra Australia. Bellamy’s is looking to rebound from a late 2016 collapse in its stock price due to concerns over profitability, sales and access to China. Camperdown Powder gives the company a CNCA-licensed canning facility to facilitate entry into the Chinese market. Bellamy’s is issuing new shares to raise A$60 million (about US$45 million) to help pay for the deal. The new supply agreement with Fonterra reduces burdensome payments. (Sydney Morning Herald, 6/13/17; AAP, 6/13/17)

Rather than mothball the plants, Australia’s Murray Goulburn Co-operativeplans to sell the three facilities it marked for closure at Edith Creek, Tasmania, and Kiewa and Rochester, Victoria . . . Canadian dairy cooperative Nutrinorpurchased a majority stake in Quebec-based cheesemaker Fromagerie Champêtre(DairyReporter.com, 6/12/17; The Examiner, 6/9/17)

AMPI plans to double capacity at its cheese and whey plant in Sanborn, Iowa, by year’s end. The company is installing eight new cheese vats, increasing daily milk handling capacity to about 1,400 tons . . . Australia’s Nature One Dairy signed a strategic partnership agreement with China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm) to produce an all-Australian infant formula for sale in China . . . HP Hood is reportedly considering buying the former Muller Quaker Dairy yogurt plant in Batavia, N.Y., refitting it to produce fluid products and adding a 100,000-sq.-ft. refrigerated warehouse . . . Arla Foods filed a motion to dismiss a complaint filed by Eli Lilly Elanco US related to Arla’s anti-rbST marketing campaign. (Company reports; DairyReporter.com, 6/6/17, 6/12/17; The Daily News, 6/10/17)

Shareholders in Argentine dairy co-op SanCor approved a restructuring plan that opens the door to a $15-million government bailout as well as potential foreign investment. SanCor has been struggling with cash flow problems fueled by sluggish domestic demand, reduced exports and late payments from Venezuela. The government funds are meant to stabilize the business and allow the company to meet outstanding commitments. The co-op has already held discussions with New Zealand’s Fonterra Co-operative Group and France’s Lactalis about potentially buying a stake. Media also reported investment interest from Mexico’s Grupo Lala and Uruguay’s Conaprole. (Dairy Markets, 6/19/17)

Brazilian meat and food processor JBS unveiled a $1.8-billion divestment plan that includes selling a 19-percent stake in its Vigor Alimentos dairy operation . . . Nestlé is “exploring strategic options” for its U.S. confectionery business, including a possible sale . . . Nestlé also purchased a minority interest in New York-based prepared meal firm Freshly Inc. (Company reports; Reuters, 6/20/17; Wall Street Journal, 6/20/17)

Germany’s DMK Group is closing factories in Rimbeck and Bad Bibra, Germany, and eliminating cut and wrap operations in Nordhackstedt in mid-2018. DMK cited expectations of reduced milk flows as farmers exit the cooperative over the next two years . . . FrieslandCampina is building a new 750,000-sq.-ft. distribution center in Meppel, Netherlands, including 330,000 sq. ft. dedicated to storage and transfer of products intended for export markets. The new facility will consolidate activities from four regional warehouses, and the co-op says it will reduce CO2 emissions and improve overall efficiency . . . Australia’s Bega Cheese capital raising for A$160-million (about US$121 million) was oversubscribed one day after the announcement. Bega said it wants the funds “to be prepared for any future food and dairy growth opportunities.” (Company reports; Queensland Country Life, 6/27/17)

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Ecuador’s Tonicorp, co-owned by The Coca-Cola Co. and Mexican Coca-Cola bottler Arca Continental, opened a new $97 million dairy plant near La Aurora. The company built the facility with an eye to expand exports to Latin America, Europe and other regions. It will manufacture yogurt, ice cream, milk and other dairy products. (El Universo, 6/29/17)

Danone sold its Stonyfield yogurt operations to France’s Lactalis for $875 million. China’s Yili Industrial Group, Mexico’s Grupo Lala and U.S.-based Dean Foods were also rumored suitors . . . Hong Kong investment firm Mason Financialis partnering with infant and nutrition formula marketer Wattle Health Australiato buy an 80 percent stake in Australian infant formula manufacturer Blend and Pack. The purchase price is A$80 million (about US$61 million) . . . Upstate Niagara Cooperative agreed to buy the Kraft-Heinz cheese plant in Campbell, N.Y., and invest $10 million into upgrading the facility. The deal includes a packaging contract with Kraft-Heinz, which pledged to contribute an additional $3 million-$5 million to the modernization effort . . . Ireland’s Lisavaird Food Group purchased fellow Irish butter and dairy spreads specialist JDS Foods . . . Latvian dairy group Food Union acquired Danish ice cream distributor Hjem-Is, strengthening Food Union’s efforts to expand in Northern Europe. (Company reports; Irish Times, 7/4/17; Reuters, 7/4/17; The Baltic Course, 7/4/17; Democrat & Chronicle, 6/30/17)

Troubled Chinese dairy producer Huishan Dairy Holdings is seeking a “white knight” to recapitalize the operation pending a major restructuring (see Global Dairy eBrief, 6/8/17). The restructuring plan would involve carving up the firm with creditors and establishing a new holding company comprised of portions of the business and additional firms owned by Huishan’s chairman . . . Arla Foodsplans to close its white mold cheese plant in Lillebælt, Denmark, and transfer production to its Troldhede, Denmark, plant . . . UAE-based foodservice operator Freedom Pizza signed a deal to sell the company’s products at Vox Cinemas across the country. (USDEC Middle East office; Company reports; Reuters, 7/3/17)

Washington, D.C.-based ACON Investments said in a statement it has completed an equity recapitalization of Borden Dairy Company, one of the leading fresh fluid dairy processors in the United States. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. “Borden is an iconic brand with more than 150 years of heritage. We are excited to be partnering with Laguna Dairy and Borden’s management to accelerate the company’s growth and maintain its position as a market leader,” said Aron Schwartz, Managing Partner of ACON. (ACON news release, Food Dive, 07/12/17)

Six dairy processors who source their milk from more than 1,200 farms across the state have joined the New York State Grown and Certified program. Consumers will soon be able to find the certified label on select milk, yogurt and cheese products from Byrne Dairy, Upstate Niagara Cooperative, McCadam Cheese, King Brothers Dairy, Hudson Valley Fresh Dairy and Beecher’s Handmade Cheese. The state program, launched last year by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, aims at assuring consumers the food they’re buying is sourced from New York farms and produced to a higher standard by requiring participating producers to adopt good agricultural practices. (Associated Press, 07/10/17)

Baby formula and dairy company Bellamy’s Australia has suffered another major blow after its Chinese importer said its newly bought canning factory in Camperdown failed to meet license standards. The Camperdown factory was not due to come on line until next year, but it is another setback for the beleaguered formula maker. The one-time Australian dairy industry success story has this year suffered falling sales in China, a loss of local market share and the resignations of long-time chief executive Laura McBain and chairman Rob Woolley. (Melbourne Herald Sun, 07/07/17)

HP Hood has purchased an idled yogurt production facility in western New York―the former Muller Quaker Dairy plant―and plans to invest over $200 million to convert it to produce “extended shelf life beverages”… Romania’s Competition Council has authorized French group Lactalis’ takeover of local dairy producers Covalact and Lactate Harghita, but the French group needs to transfer for a period of time the license for the LaDorna butter to another company … The Competition Authority in Estonia has approved the merger of AS Maag Grupp’s Farmi Piimatööstus with rival dairy producer Tere, whose owner went bankrupt in 2016 … Flavor and fragrance maker Givaudan said it was acquiring Vika B.V., headquartered in the Netherlands, to strengthen its portfolio of natural dairy solutions with products that include cheese ingredients. (Associated Press, 07/12/17; Democrat & Chronicle 7/07/17; Romania-insider.com, 07/12/17; err ee, 5/17/17; Reuters, 7/11/17)

The first block of cheddar cheese has rolled off the line at Fonterra’s brand new $140 million Stanhope, New Zealand, cheese plant, marking the return of cheddar to the site for the first time since a catastrophic fire destroyed the old cheese plant in December 2014 … Dairy company Wyke Farms has deepened its relationship with The Organic Milk Suppliers Cooperative, the UK’s largest producer of organic milk, in an effort to grow sales of organic cheese … South Caenarfon Creameries, a North Wales dairy cooperative, says it made a record £3m profit in the last year … Arla Foods will close its Castello cheese manufacturing plant in Denmark in 2019, shifting production to a larger dairy in Troldhede … A UK company, Nemi Dairy Ltd, is in “advanced discussions” to sell its extended shelf life (ESL) milk in major Chinese cities. The milk could be on sale in China as early as August 1 … Finnish cheese manufacturer Valio is embarking on an expansion of dairy production in Russia, spending EUR65 million at its plant in the city at Ershov, in the Moscow region, including a new production line with an annual capacity of 15,000 tons … German company Uckermarker Milch GmbH, part of Switzerland’s HOCHDORF Group, said it plans to reposition itself in the market, concentrating on high-value products and markets in the future, further extending its market position with butter, buttermilk and refined milk powders … Jollibee Vietnam plans to expand from 98 outlets in Vietnam today to 300 outlets within the next three years. (Fonterra, 7/04/17; FoodBev Media, 7/04/17; BBC News, 7/10/17; FoodBev Media, 7/03/17; Agra Europe, 6/12/17; IEG Vu, 7/04/17; Dairy Reporter, 7/07/17; vnecomictimes, 07/05/17)

India’s AmulFed, a unit of Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation, plans to build what its contractor GEA says will be the largest SMP/dairy whitener facility in Asia. The plant—in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, in Western India—will have the capacity to produce 150 tons/day of SMP and 120 tons/day of dairy whitener. AmulFed already operates two additional milk powder plants at the site. GEA expects the new facility will begin production next year. Neither company specified the cost. (GEA, 7/17/17)

Less than a week after suspending Bellamy’s export license, the Certification and Accreditation Administration of the People’s Republic of China (CNCA) halted all milk shipments from Parmalat’s fluid facility in Adelaide, Australia. CNCA said the plant was overheating its milk and objected to its labeling as “fresh.” Parmalat said its pasteurization methods were in line with accepted international standards, but it would work with China to resolve the issue. (The Australian, 7/14/17)

DOC Dairy Partners, the Dutch subsidiary of Germany’s DMK, purchased the Uniekaas cheese facility in Kaatsheuvel, Netherlands, the Uniekaas name and certain Uniekaas cheese brands. The remaining Uniekaas operations will operate under the new name Best Cheese Global, with a stronger focus on international markets, particularly the United States and Southeast Asia . . . Australia’s Murray Goulburn Cooperative plans to sell its shuttered Leitchville, Victoria, cheese plant. The company mothballed the facility in 2010 when severe drought slashed Australian milk production. (Country News, 7/18/17; Boerderij, 7/13/17)

Troubled Chinese infant formula maker Beingmate Baby & Child plans to divest some of its assets after announcing a $55 million loss in the first half of the year. New Zealand’s Fonterra owns a 19 percent stake in the company, which is also the subject of a Chinese insider-trading probe . . . New Zealand opened its Southern Dairy Hub farm research station. The NZ$20 million project (about US$15 million) located in Southland aims to drive better farming practices, environmental initiatives and increased farm efficiency. (USDEC China office; The Australian, 7/20/17; Otago Daily Times, 7/17/17)

Fonterra Co-operative Group is spending NZ$150 million (about US$111) to increase cream cheese output at its Darfield, South Island, facility by 48,000 tons. All the new output is earmarked to satisfy rising global foodservice demand in export markets, particularly Asia, the company said. The new lines will feature technology that allows Fonterra to vary firmness and consistency of the cream cheese as specified by the customer. The Darfield expansion is a two-stage project: Stage 1 will add 24,000 tons of capacity by August 2018 at a cost of NZ$100 million. Subsequent demand will dictate the timing of Stage 2. (Company reports)

Australia’s Murray Goulburn Co-operative (MG) is selling its Kiewa Countrybrand and certain associated assets to an unnamed local business. Despite community and government pressure to sell three plants slated for closure in Kiewa and Rochester, Victoria, and Edith Creek, Tasmania, and reported buyer interest, the troubled processor has so far announced no deals. Australian media reports that MG suppliers continue to jump ship for other processors offering higher returns. (Company reports; The Weekly Times, 7/25/17, 7/18/17)

Agri-Mark broke ground on a $17-million expansion to its West Springfield, Massachusetts, manufacturing plant to boost drying capacity . . . Minnesota-based Bongards’ Creameries is investing $35 million to expand its Humbolt, Tennessee, cheese plant . . . Ohio-based Great Lakes Cheese is building a $55-million cheese packaging plant in Wausau . . . China’s Mengniu Dairy plans to capitalize on the government’s “Belt and Road” infrastructure initiative to grow its dairy export business, initially focusing on Southeast Asia . . . Yakult Danone India is expanding manufacturing capacity at its Sonepat, Haryana, probiotic drink plant by 50 percent to 300,000 bottles per day. The company plans to move beyond current major metro markets into second- and third-tier cities . . . Separately, Yakult Honsha announced plans to build its sixth manufacturing plant in China in the province of Guangdong. The company expects to start production by March 2019. (just-food.com, 7/25/17; FoodNavigator-Asia.com, 7/24/17, 7/21/17; Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 7/19/17; Area Development, 7/18/17; MassLive.com, 7/17/17)

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Mexican dairy giant Grupo Lala purchased Brazilian dairy processor Vigor Alimentos for a reported 5.7 billion reals (about US$1.8 billion). The deal includes Vigor’s 50 percent stake in Brazilian dairy processor Itambé Alimentos. Lala has aggressively expanded its business outside of Mexico over the past two years via acquisition and plant construction. The Vigor purchase is its biggest step to date to bolster its regional position. PepsiCo and France’s Lactalis were also rumored as suitors for the company. Parent J&F Investimentos was forced to sell Vigor as part of a settlement to pay a $3.3 billion fine to the Brazilian government over its role in a bribery scheme involving JBS, J&F’s meat processing operation. (Wall Street Journal, 8/1/17; Milkpoint, 8/1/17)

Fonterra confirmed it is in talks to acquire troubled Argentine dairy co-op SanCor . . . Starbucks bought out its eastern China joint-venture partner Uni-President, calling the transaction a demonstration of the company’s confidence in the growth potential of the Chinese market. Starbucks operates about 2,800 stores in mainland China and plans to have 5,000 by 2021 . . . Chinese dairy processor Beijing Sanyuan Foods and investment firm Fosun Group plan to acquire a controlling stake in French spreads specialist St Hubert SAS . . . Switzerland’s Emmi sold its 24 percent share of Italian fresh cheesemaker Venchiaredo to Italy’s Granarolo . . . Japan’s Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. paid C$405 million (about US$324 million) for Daiya Foods, a Canadian manufacturer of plant-based dairy alternatives. (USDEC China office; Company reports; New Zealand Herald, 7/27/17)

Pegah Iran Dairy Industries opened what it says is the largest dairy powder factory in Iran. The plant can handle 180 tons of raw milk per day. The company, which operates 17 production facilities throughout the country, is also building a 2,000-cow farm complex to supply its operations . . . Dubai-based private investment firm AlJeel Capital plans to open 10 Shakey’s Pizza outlets in the UAE . . . Australian pizza restaurant 400 Gradi signed a franchise deal with Kuwait-based foodservice operator M.H. Alshaya to develop the brand in the Middle East . . . Australia’s ViPlus Dairy plans to double nutritional milk powder packaging capacity to 16,000 tons per year over the next 12 months. The company exports about 80 percent of its products to China, but is looking to expand in Africa and the Middle East. It contracts with Australian processors including Burra Foods and Fonterra for its ingredients . . . Mondelez Internationalappointed Dirk Van de Put, CEO of Canada’s McCain Foods, to replace CEO Irene Rosenfeld when she retires in November. (USDEC Middle East office; Reuters, 8/2/17; The Weekly Times, 8/1/17; DairyReporter.com, 7/28/17)

The China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) officially announced the first companies to obtain Chinese infant nutrition certification. CFDA requires manufacturers to register brands and recipes in order to ship infant formula after January 1, 2018. Products from five international companies were among those approved: Abbott Nutrition, FrieslandCampina, Mead Johnson, Nestlé and Wyeth Nutrition (owned by Nestlé). Additional approvals are expected to be forthcoming. (USDEC China office; Company reports; FoodNavigator-Asia.com, 8/7/17; AAP, 8/4/17)

China’s Feihe International began construction on a C$225 million (about US$178 million) infant formula plant in Kingston, Ontario, and expects to have the facility completed in 2019.The plant, announced last December, will feature two lines: one for cow’s milk formula and one for goat’s milk. It will manufacture up to 60,000 tons of powdered formula per year, with plans to ship about 85 percent of that output to China. (CBC News, 8/3/17, 8/2/17)

New Zealand’s Fonterra Co-operative Group says about 14 percent of its dairy exports go to Africa, an increase from 10 percent a decade ago, and it foresees further growth on the continent. Fonterra’s NZMP global ingredients division, which operates offices in Algeria, Egypt and Nigeria, claims it is seeing significant growth in cheese, UHT milk and consumer milk powder in Africa. (BusinessDesk, 7/28/17)

McDonald’s expects to increase the number of mainland China outlets from 2,500 to 4,500 by 2022, according to a new five-year plan released this week. The company made the announcement after Chinese regulators approved the sale of its company-owned Chinese and Hong Kong stores to a new joint venture between McDonald’s, CITIC Ltd., CITIC Capital and Carlyle Group. The expansion plan will focus on tier 3 and 4 cities (300 new cities are slated for entry over the next five years) and on changes such as developing more localized menu options, adding delivery service and integrating new technology like digital ordering kiosks. (USDEC China office)

Unilever purchased Australian ice cream maker Weis Frozen Foods . . . The Vietnamese government plans to sell an additional 3.3 percent stake in Vinamilk, reducing its share in the milk processor to 36 percent . . . British dairy processor Meadow Foods acquired Fayrefield Liquids, the fluid milk trading arm of UK dairy processor Fayrefield Foods . . . Cargill is buying the animal feed business of Virginia-based Southern States Cooperative(Sydney Morning Herald, 8/9/17; TheDairySite, 8/7/17; Nikkei Asian Review, 8/5/17; Farm Weekly Interactive, 8/4/17)

Chinese authorities lifted the suspension on shipments of infant formula from the Bellamy’s Australia’s manufacturing plant in Camperdown, Victoria . . . New Zealand’s Mataura Valley Milk says its under-construction infant formula plant in Gore on the South Island is on track to start production in August 2018. The NZ$240 million facility (about US$176 million) will produce 30,000 tons of formula annually. Mataura Valley is majority owned by China Animal Husbandry Group . . . Cold Stone Creamery signed a master franchise agreement with Srivijaya Sdn. Bhd. to open 20 of the ice cream outlets in Malaysia over the next five years, beginning in Kuala Lumpur . . . Angolan dairy processor Lactiagnolopened a new $27-million plant expansion at its Luanda facility, doubling production of UHT milk, yogurt and butter. (Company reports; Reuters, 8/9/17; New Zealand Herald, 8/4/17; Macau Hub, 7/25/17)

Dutch dairy giant FrieslandCampina plans to streamline its organizational structure into four business groups to allow the company to “more decisively” respond to market developments and to better focus innovation on strategic priorities. The four groups are Consumer Dairy, Specialized Nutrition, Ingredients and Basic Dairy. Consumer Dairy combines FrieslandCampina’s consumer-driven Middle East, North Africa and Asia divisions with the consumer activities from its cheese, butter and milk powder groups. Specialized nutrition will focus on specialty foods, such as infant, sports and senior nutrition. Ingredients and Basic Dairy will handle business-to-business production and sales of their respective products. The company expects the new structure will be operational by January 1, 2018.

New Zealand’s Synlait Milk inked a new supply agreement with China’s New Hope Nutritionals that will triple the volume of infant formula it provides New Hope over the next five years. Synlait also says the agreement will “underpin applications to register New Hope Nutritional’s Akara and e-Akara infant formula brands with the China Food and Drug Administration.” (Company reports)

McDonald’s new Chinese joint venture signed a deal with Chinese real estate firm Evergrande Group in a move analysts believe will help the company accelerate new store development in second and third-tier cities . . . Norwegian dairy processor TINE began construction on a $100-million fluid milk, cream and juice plant in Flesland, Norway . . . FrieslandCampina is spending $3.5 million to upgrade two Romanian dairy plants, including $1.5 million to triple cheese output at its Cluj-Napoca facility to about 325 tons per month. (DairyReporter.com, 8/16/17; South China Morning Post, 8/15/17; FoodBev.com, 8/2/17)

Troubled Australian dairy processor Murray Goulburn Co-operative (MG)instructed its advisor Deutsche Bank to seek more detailed proposals to sell the business wholesale or divest portions of it. MG’s milk intake fell 22 percent to 2.8 million tons for the year ending June 30, 2017, and the co-op says it expects a further decline to 2.1 million tons for the current season. Sale of the full company is unlikely since 90 percent of MG farmers would need to agree to such a deal. But the business’s 10 processing plants are expected to generate significant interest. (Company reports; Reuters, 8/22/17; The Weekly Times, 8/22/17)

France’s Fromageries Bel sold its Cléry-le-Petit cheese plant in Meuse to Wisconsin-based Schreiber Foods. The deal reportedly includes a supply agreement by which Schreiber will continue to make the Cousteron and Port-Salutbrands manufactured at the facility . . . FrieslandCampina sold its Riedel juice division to Dutch investment firm Standard Investment, which also owns Burger King Netherlands and Dutch Bakery Group. (Company reports; Dairy Markets, 8/17/17)

Valio opened a new €170 million (about US$200 million) dairy “snack” plant in Riihimäki, Finland. The facility will initially produce yogurt but eventually expects to manufacture what Valio calls “a whole new kind of innovative snack product” with an emphasis on nutrition and taste. (Company reports)

Arla Foods established a new sales and packaging subsidiary in Accra, Ghana, to sell ArlaLurpak and Dano brand milk powder, butter and cheese beginning next month. The operation includes a re-packaging facility outside of Accra; local companies will handle distribution. The move aligns with Arla’s Good Growth 2020 business strategy, which aims to increase the company’s proportion of sales from regions outside the EU. Tripling its Sub-Saharan Africa revenue by 2020 is part of the plan. (Company reports)

Milk New Zealand signed a deal with Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba to sell fresh milk through the company’s Tmall online platform. The milk, under the brand name Theland Farm Fresh, will be processed by New Zealand’s Green Valley Dairy and airfreighted to China. Milk New Zealand plans to retail it for NZ$16.50 (about US$12) for two 1L bottles. The company says it expects to sell 20,000 bottles a month this year, rising to 80,000 bottles per month in 2018. (New Zealand Herald, 8/30/17)

Saputo acquired the ESL dairy operations of Southeast Milk Inc., including a processing facility in Plant City, Florida . . . Fonterra Co-operative Group paid NZ$12 million (about US$8.5 million) for a 10 percent stake in Lithuanian dairy processor Rokiskio . . . Murray Goulburn Cooperative (MG) identified Kyvalley Dairy Group as the buyer of its Kiewa Country Milk brand and processing equipment. Kyvalley says it is Australia’s largest exporter of fresh milk to China and plans to launch additional products on the Chinese market later this year . . . MG advisor Deutsche Bank said it had received bids for the company from interested parties in Australia and China. Saputo, Bega Cheese, Lactalis and Lion are rumored as suitors for the troubled Australian dairy co-op. (Company reports; The Weekly Times, 8/29/17, 8/28/17)

Papa John’s International signed an agreement with its Russian franchisee PJ Western to open a total of 45 units in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Poland . . . Britain’s Nemi Dairy has begun shipping fresh milk to LuLu hypermarkets in the Middle East . . . Australia’s single largest milk producer VDL Farms is entering the organic sector by converting three of its 25 farms to organic production. (AirCargo, 8/28/17; Reuters, 8/24/17; The Weekly Times/Tasmanian Country, 8/2/17)

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Canadian dairy cooperative Agropur has purchased the remaining 50 percent stake in its joint venture with Agrifoods International for yogurt manufacturer, Ultima Foods. The joint venture deal for Ultima Foods was originally signed in 1993, as Agropur and Agrifoods combined its yogurt manufacturing and marketing operations. Ultima, which bought B.C. yogurt processor Olympic Dairy in 2004 and launched its own Canadian brand, Iogo, in 2014, today has about 660 staff in plants at Granby, Quebec, and Delta, British Columbia, with annual sales of over $300 million.  (FoodBev Media, 09/01/17)

The European Commission has announced it has approved the indirect acquisition of the German-based dairy company Omira by French dairy group Lactalis(DairyReporter, 09/05/17)

Lakeland Dairies in Ireland has completed and commissioned a new €36m milk powder plant on its dairy processing site at Bailieboro, County Cavan. It is one of the largest milk powder plants in Europe … China Mengniu Dairy reported a 4.7 percent year-over-year jump in profits $172 million for the first half of 2017 and announced plans to partner with e-commerce giant Alibaba to further drive online sales … Meanwhile China Mengniu Dairy announced the resignation of executive director Bai Ying … Chinese dairy company Yili has been named the dairy partner for the Beijing 2022 Olympics, making it the only food company to have supplied both summer and winter Games in China’s capital … Glanbia Co-operative has transferred about €92 million worth of Glanbia plc shares to its members. Farmers holding 2,000 shares in the co-op will receive a payment of just under €4,792 and those holding 5,000 shares will receive close to €12,081 each, based on a share price of €15.71 at the close of business on August 31. (Irish Farmers Journal, 09/01/17; DairyReporter, 09/01/17; Reuters, 08/31/17; Food Navigator-Asia.com, 09/05/17; AgriLand, 09/01/17)

LacPatrick officially opened a new £30 million (about US$40 million) dairy processing facility in Artigarvan, Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland. The plant can handle up to 2,600 tons of raw milk per day, producing instant milk powder and low-spore spray-dried milk powder—products it previously did not make. LacPatrick hopes the new capabilities will help it expand into new markets in Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia. The plant also gives the company the ability to process all of the milk it collects in Northern Ireland within Northern Irish borders, should the UK and EU fail to work out a seamless transition to cross-border trade during Brexit talks. This is the second powder facility christened on the Irish mainland as a whole within the past two weeks. Lakeland’s €40 million (about US$48 million) milk powder plant at Bailieboro, Co. Cavan, Ireland, lifted the site’s total powder capacity to 160,000 tons annually (together with 50,000 tons of butter). Lakeland says it expanded the plant to provide greater flexibility in milk throughput, create economies of scale and target opportunities in infant formula, health-related nutritional products and other product categories. (Agriland, 9/12/17; Belfast Telegraph, 9/12/17; Farming Life, 9/11/17)

HSBC and other lenders have demanded that troubled China Huishan Dairy Holdings immediately repay $220 million in loans. Huishan said it was continuing talks with creditors about debt restructuring and seeking legal advice on HSBC’s demand. (Reuters, 9/12/17)

Troubled Australian dairy processor Murray Goulburn Co-operative confirmed that it has received a number of proposals seeking to acquire part or all of the company. The co-op said it is engaging with “a number of parties” along with its financial advisor Deutsche Bank. Rumored suitors include China’s Yili Group, Canada’s Saputo, Denmark’s Arla Foods, New Zealand’s Fonterra Co-operative Group and fellow Australian processor Bega Cheese. (Company reports; Agrimoney.com, 9/21/17)

Mexico’s Grupo Lala will not be getting a 50 percent share in Brazilian dairy Itambé Alimentos through its Vigor Alimentos acquisition. Cooperativa Central dos Produtores Rurais de Minas Gerais, which owns the other 50 percent of Itambé, exercised its right of first refusal and is purchasing Vigor’s shares instead. Lala said it would still proceed with its Vigor acquisition at a reduced cost. (DairyReporter.com, 9/22/17; Milkpoint 9/17/17)

Fonterra Co-operative Group said it is on the lookout to invest in dairy co-ops pushed into distress by the past two years of challenging global market conditions, particularly companies in Europe and the United States . . . Japan’s Mitsui & Co. acquired 30 percent stakes in Indonesian milk producer Raffles Pacific Harvest and processor ABC Kogen Dairy. It plans to initially invest $50 million to expand vertical dairy operations in the country . . . Unilever gave its South African spreads business to investment company Remgro in exchange for Remgro’s stake in Unilever South Africa Holdings . . . Saudi Arabian food and retail group Savola is selling 2 percent of its stake in dairy processor Almarai to shore up its bottom line . . . Australia’s TasFoods Group purchased fellow Tasmanian cheddar and fluid milk producer Pyengana Dairy(USDEC Middle East office; The Examiner, 9/27/17; New Zealand Herald, 9/25/17; FoodBev.com, 9/25/17; Nikkei Asian Review, 9/21/17)

Hein Schumacher will take over as CEO of FrieslandCampina when Roelof Joosten, current chief of the Dutch dairy giant, steps down on Jan. 1, 2018 . . . California pizza chain Blaze Pizza signed a deal with Kuwait-based M.H. Alshayato develop 100 restaurants in 11 Middle Eastern and North African nations. Alshaya also owns regional franchise rights for Starbucks and Shake Shack . . . Papa John’s International plans to expand into Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Poland through PJ Western, its franchisee in Russia and Belarus. Forty-five units are planned for the three nations . . . Egypt’s Arabian Food Industries, also known as Domty, plans to begin promotion and distribution activities in Rwanda in the coming weeks. The venture is part of its strategy to lift exports from 8 percent of current sales to 20 percent by the end of next year . . . Denmark’s Chr. Hansen signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Vietnam’s Vinamilk to develop probiotic yogurt, infant formula and other Vinamilk products. (USDEC Middle East office; USDEC Vietnam office; Company reports; Reuters, 8/24/17)

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Denmark-based Arla Foods launched Arla-branded organic milk in the UAE to meet rising demand for organic dairy in the region. It plans to expand into Kuwait and Saudi Arabia in 2018 and calls the Middle East its “biggest strategic growth market outside Europe” . . . New Zealand’s Synlait Milk is establishing a new R&D center in Palmerston North on the North Island, in conjunction with Massey University and FoodPilot, a pilot-scale food processing equipment company. The company is investing NZ$7 million (about US$5 million) this year on R&D and plans to double that amount over the next two years . . . Britain’s Nemi Dairy is air-shipping 5,000 liters per week of fresh fluid milk to Qatar for sale at LuLuhypermarkets . . . Nestlé Purina PetCare plans to invest $320 over the next six years on a new pet food factory in Hartwell, Ga. (Company reports; Irish Farmers Journal, 10/2/17; BusinessDesk, 9/25/17)

Al Safi Danone, a joint venture between France’s Danone and Saudi Arabia’s Al Faisaliah Group, made an offer to acquire a 38.75-percent stake in Saudi state-owned dairy, food and beverage firm National Agricultural Development Co. . . . Japanese dairy processor Megmilk Snow Brand paid A$14 million (about US$11 million) for a 90-percent stake in Australian artisan cheesemaker Udder Delights. . . Brazilian investment firm 2bCapital and U.S. private equity fund Siguler Guff & Co. invested R$90 million (about US$28 million) in Brazilian foodservice supplier Ourolac, which specializes in UHT dairy products . . . Kellogg is buying protein bar maker RXBar. RXBar products contain no dairy, soy or gluten. (Company reports; InDaily, 10/11/17; Bloomberg, 10/8/17; AP, 10/6/17)

Nestlé is investing CHF30 million (about US$31 million) to expand infant formula manufacturing at its facility in Vologda, Russia . . . Ireland’s Dairygold officially opened its €86 million (about US$101 million) “Nutritional Campus” at its Mallow, Co. Cork, facility. The plant can produce up to 1,750 tons per week of powdered nutritional dairy ingredients . . . Italian dairy processor Centrale del Latte d’Italia partnered with China’s Alibaba Group to sell UHT milk through the online sale platform Tmall . . . Yum! China Chief Executive Officer Micky Pant will step down March 1. Yum! China President and Chief Operating Officer Joey Wat will take over. (Company reports; European Supermarket Magazine, 10/6/17; Nation’s Restaurant News, 10/5/17; Agriland, 9/22/17)

Bega Cheese announced it was “no longer a potential purchaser” of troubled Australian dairy processor Murray Goulburn Co-operative (MG). Industry sources now say Canada’s Saputo leads the race to acquire MG, although China’s Mengniu Dairy and Yili Group and New Zealand’s Fonterra Co-operative Group reportedly remain in the running as well. MG is expected to announce its preferred bidder tomorrow. A successful Saputo or Fonterra bid would likely raise questions from Australian competition authorities due to each company’s existing Australian holdings. (The Australian, 10/26/17)

France’s Savencia Fromage & Dairy acquired Russian cheesemaker OAO Belebey, based in the Russian republic of Bashkortostan . . . German dairy processor Hochland purchased the Belinsky cheese factory owned by Russian agricultural holding company Damate Group. The Belinsky factory, based in the Volga region, produces semi-hard cheeses and, once the sale is approved, will be Hochland’s third plant in Russia . . . Switzerland’s Emmi increased its stake in Mexican specialty cheese importer Mexideli 2000 Holding . . . Swedish competition authorities approved the merger between Swedish dairy co-operative Gefleortens and Danish dairy giant Arla Foods . . . After divesting more than 5 percent of Vinamilk in late 2016, the Vietnamese government plans to auction another 3 percent of its stake in the nation’s largest dairy processor on Nov. 10. The sale is expected to raise more than $280 million. After the sale, the government share of Vinamilk will be about 36 percent. (Company reports; Dairy Markets, 10/24/17; European Supermarket Magazine, 10/20/17; Nikkei Asian Review, 10/16/17)

Australia’s Freedom Foods plans to spend A$40 million (about US$31 million) over the next 18 months to expand UHT milk capacity at its plant in Shepparton, Victoria . . . DanoneWave, the new name for the combined operations of WhiteWave Foods and Danone’s North American business, is spending $60 million to expand plant-based beverage capacity at its Mount Crawford, Va., plant. (DairyReporter.com, 10/25/17; Shepparton News, 10/25/17)

 

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Canada’s Saputo purchased all operating assets of Australian dairy giant Murray Goulburn Co-operative (MG) and U.S. goat cheese specialist Betin Inc., also known as Montchevre. The C$1.29-billion (about US$1-billion) MG deal makes Saputo, which already owns Victoria-based Warrnambool Cheese & Butter Factory, Australia’s largest dairy processor. The deal excludes all liabilities related to ongoing Australian government investigations and lawsuits connected to MG’s 2016 retroactive farmgate price cut, but includes a series of commitments from Saputo ensuring milk collection from MG farmers and market pricing for a minimum of five years. The transaction is subject to approvals from MG members and Australian regulatory authorities. Saputo expects it to close in the first half of 2018. The Montchevre purchase, which broadens Saputo’s presence in the U.S. specialty cheese sector, is expected to close by the end of the year. (Company reports)

Jason Hawkins will take the reins as chief executive officer of Ireland’s Carbery Group when its current CEO Dan McSweeney retires at year’s end. Hawkins currently serves as chief operating officer of Dairy Farmers of America, where he is responsible for global ingredients. (Agriland, 10/25/17)

Mexico’s Grupo Lala finalized a deal to acquire 99.9 percent of Brazilian dairy processor Vigor Alimentos. Lala may still have an opportunity to purchase Vigor’s 50 percent stake of Brazilian dairy processor Itambé. Brazil’s Cooperativa Central dos Produtores Rurais de Minas Gerais (CCPR) is reportedly having difficulties raising funding to exercise its first right of refusal on Itambé . . . Ontario-based Gay Lea Foods Co-operative purchased fellow Canadian dairy processor Alberta Cheese. Alberta, headquartered in Southeast Calgary, specializes in traditional Italian varieties under the Sorrento and Franco’s labels. (Company reports; IEG Vu, 10/27/17)

MDI Holdings, a joint venture between Gay Lea Foods and Vitalus Nutrition, officially opened a new C$100-million processing facility in Winnipeg. The plant will produce a range of high-value milk proteins, including MPC, MPI and buttermilk powder . . . Fonterra Co-operative Group is fast-tracking NZ$100 million (about US$69 million) in plant upgrades in Australia to handle an extra 515,000 tons of raw milk. Its Australian plants are running at full capacity with a waiting list of suppliers, the company said . . . New Zealand’s Oceania Dairy, owned by China’s Yili Group, plans to invest another NZ$200 million in its Glenavy, South Island, dairy plant. Plans reportedly include a new dryer, lactoferrin capacity and larger lab facilities . . . Australian nutrition company Blackmores ended its infant formula joint venture with Bega Cheese. Earlier in the week, Bega said the venture was underperforming. Blackmores said it remains committed to the infant formula sector . . . Arla Foods ended its exclusive distribution agreement with Israeli importer G. Willi-Food International . . . Sri Lankan importer East West Marketing signed an exclusive deal to distribute cheese from Saudi Arabia-based Almarai(Company reports; Rural News Group, 11/2/17; BusinessDesk, 10/30/17; DairyReporter.com, 10/25/17, 10/23/17; Daily Mirror, 10/20/17)

New Zealand’s Fonterra Co-operative Group acquired a stake in Oregon-based WPC and lactose maker Columbia River Technologies. Columbia River is a joint venture between Tillamook County Creamery Association and Threemile Canyon Farms, with a manufacturing facility adjacent to Tillamook’s satellite cheese plant in Boardman, Ore. Fonterra said the deal reflects its effort to build “a sustainable U.S. sourcing network.” Separately, the co-op is adding a third 1-liter UHT line to its Waitoa, North Island, manufacturing plant. The line can produce 15,000 cartons per hour and lifts the site’s total processing capacity to more than 250 million liters of UHT milk and cream annually. Fueled by strong Asian consumer and foodservice demand, the line will be the third installed at Waitoa in the past 12 months. (Company reports)

Dairy Farmers of America purchased New Jersey-based Cumberland Dairy as part of the co-op’s strategy to expand extended-shelf-life processing capabilities. (Company reports)

CoreFX, a subsidiary of Ireland’s Ornua, opened a 5,000-sq.-ft. innovation center in Chicago. The company says its network of innovation centers, including units in four European countries and Saudi Arabia, are key to helping it develop custom ingredients to meet specific customer requirements . . . Fire severely damaged Ornua’s Ingredientes España plant in Avila, Spain. Ornua said it would divert production from facilities in Europe and North America to meet current commitments as it assesses its recovery plan . . . Egypt’s Juhayna Food Industries is focusing efforts on expanding into new export markets, including Ethiopia, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Sudan . . . Philippine food group San Miguelcombined its San Miguel Brewery, Ginebra San Miguel and San Miguel Pure Food (including dairy) into a single operating entity called San Miguel Food and Beverage(USDEC Middle East office; Company reports; Agriland, 11/7/17; Nikkei Asian Review, 11/6/17; Agriland, 11/3/17)

Australian Consolidated Milk (ACM) purchased land in Girgarre, Victoria, with the intent to build a new milk powder, butter and cheese manufacturing plant. Plans call for the plant to process 205,000 tons of raw milk per year, with capabilities to simultaneously handle both organic and conventional milk. ACM expects to start construction next month and christen the facility in spring 2018. Product is earmarked for domestic and export markets. (The Weekly Times, 10/30/17)

Dubai-based TGI Group set up a new dairy subsidiary in Thailand called Nutridor Ltd. and contracted with local processor Abico Dairy Farm to initially manufacture products. The company plans to market drinking yogurt under the Abevia brand in Thailand and also use the country as a base to ship to China and the rest of Southeast Asia. It projects sales of $30 million by year three. (TheDairySite, 11/13/17)

Nestlé is shifting management of its infant formula business from a global to a regional structure. The company will appoint three Nutrition Business heads to lead operations in line with its three regions: Americas, Europe/Middle East/North Africa and Asia/Oceania/Sub-Saharan Africa. The company believes the new structure will allow it to respond more quickly to rapidly changing local consumer preferences, evolving regulation, and customer and channel demand for tailor-made solutions. (Company reports)

Singapore conglomerate Jardine Cycle & Carriage paid $617 million for a 5.5 percent stake in Vietnam’s Vinamilk(Reuters, 11/13/17)

Nestlé is investing $5 million to increase milk handling capacity at its Lagos de Moreno milk powder plant in Jalisco, Mexico. The plant serves domestic and export markets in Latin America and the United States . . . Dairy Farmers of America officially opened its Garden City, Kan., dairy ingredients facility, which was built to meet domestic and international demand . . . Chobani is spending $20 million to build a 70,000-sq.-ft. global R&D center at its Twin Falls, Idaho, manufacturing plant . . . In a move meant to improve operational efficiency, Canada’s Saputo is closing its Fond du Lac, Wis., cheese plant and transferring production to its Almena, Wis., plant . . . A group of former Murray Goulburnsuppliers in Victoria is forming a new Australian dairy co-op called Mountain Milk Cooperative. The group initially plans to form a partnership with a local processor, primarily targeting the domestic market. (Company reports; The Weekly Times, 11/13/17; AP, 11/9/17; Milenio, 11/9/17)

Australian supplement firm Blackmores launched its Stage 3 Toddler Milk Drink in Singapore. The company is marketing it as a supplementary food for children over 12 months, with iodine for cognitive function; zinc, iron and vitamins A, C and D for the immune system; and calcium for bone development. It hopes to roll out Stage 1 and Stage 2 formula in Singapore in the future and is exploring other Asian markets. (DairyReporter.com, 11/21/17)

Ornua launched its Kerrygold butter in South Korea during a Government of Ireland Agri-Food Trade Mission to Asia. Ornua hopes to sell 30-40 tons of butter to South Korea next year, while adding cheese and expanding distribution into Vietnam. Indonesia and other Asian markets are on tap, Ornua said, adding that the company expects Asia to be its largest dairy export market within 20 years. Irish Ag Minister Michael Creed, who led the trade mission, said the trip was aimed at raising awareness of Ireland as a strategic partner. Irish companies are targeting many of the same opportunities as U.S. suppliers. Carbery Group, for example, said it is focusing on whey protein products in Japan to address the problem of sarcopenia. (Irish Independent, 11/27/17, 11/14/17)

New Zealand’s Synlait Milk opened a new NZ$55-million (about US$38 million) blending and packaging plant in the Auckland suburb of Mangere on the North Island. The company acquired the half-completed facility when it bought New Zealand Dairy Co. in May. The plant can pack 32,000 tons of formula annually, doubling Synlait’s capacity overall capacity and eliminating the company’s risk of relying on a single formula facility at Dunsandel on the South Island. Synlait expects the Mangere facility will help it meet rising international demand for infant formula, with a focus on China. Registration of the new facility with New Zealand’s Ministry of Primary Industries and China’s CNCA is progressing well, Synlait says. Separately, John Penno, founder, CEO and managing director of Synlait, announced he will be stepping down. His departure date is dependent on when the Synlait board completes an international search for a new chief. (Rural News Group, 11/29/17; Dairy Markets, 11/24/17)

Nestlé is spending $54 million on a new manufacturing plant in Cuba to meet rising consumer demand for a range of products. The facility will produce Nesquikbeverage powders, Nestlé Fitness cereal bars, Maggi products and other Nestlé lines. Nestlé estimates total annual capacity at 18,500 tons and expects the facility will be operational in January 2020. (Company reports)

Australia’s Murray Goulburn Co-operative sold its Edith Creek, Tasmania, processing plant to the Australian subsidiary of Thai dairy processor Dutch Mill . . . Australia Zhiran Co., a consortium of Chinese investors led by dairy processor Shanghai Ground Food Tech (one of China’s largest cheesemakers), purchased Western Australia’s Brownes Dairy . . . South Korea’s Lotte Confectionery paid $150 million for India’s Havmor Ice Cream . . . Indian dairy and renewable energy company Heritage Foods acquired dairy processor Vaman Milk Foods, based in Punjab . . . Singapore conglomerate Jardine Cycle & Carriage purchased an additional 4.5 percent stake in Vietnam’s Vinamilk through a subsidiary, Platinum Victory Pte. The transaction gives Jardine a total Vinamilk stake of 10 percent. (Company reports; The Hindu Business Line, 11/23/17; Vietnam News, 11/20/17; Australian Financial Review, 11/14/17; VCCircle, 11/10/17)

Fonterra Co-operative Group CEO Theo Spierings took over as chairman of Global Dairy Platform effective Nov. 16. Spierings succeeds Rick Smith, CEO of Dairy Farmers of America, who chaired the group since 2015 . . . FrieslandCampina is closing its Gütersloh, Germany, dairy dessert plant and consolidating German commercial activities in the North Rhine-Westphalia region . . . The Ontario government is investing C$24 million (about US$19 million) in Canada Royal Milk, Feihe International’s infant formula project in Kingston. Ontario expects the plant will be operational in 2020 . . . Saudi Arabia’s Almarai opened its new “Central Production Plant” in Al Kharj. The facility will serve local and regional markets and features seven production lines for fresh dairy products, including milk, laban and zabadi . . . Gulf Japan Food Fund, a Japanese private equity fund, invested in Yamanote Atelier Restaurant, a chain restaurant that is seeking to develop the “Japanese bakery” concept in the Middle East. Currently in Dubai, Yamanote plans to use the funds to expand to all GCC countries . . . The number of international Pizza Hut units topped 9,000 this month, with the opening of a new store in Mumbai. Domino’s Pizza is a close second in foreign stores with about 8,950. (USDEC Middle East office; Company reports; Nation’s Restaurant News, 11/27/17)

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France’s Groupe Lactalis is reportedly paying $600 million for full ownership of Brazilian dairy processor Itambé Alimentos. Mexico’s Grupo Lala had hoped to acquire Itambé when it purchased Brazilian dairy processor Vigor Alimentos earlier this year. But Brazil’s Cooperativa Central dos Produtores Rurais de Minas Gerais (CCPR), which owned the other half of Itambé, exercised its first right of refusal to purchase Vigor’s shares. After a long effort to raise funds for the purchase, CCPR turned around and concluded the deal with Lactalis. The transaction, when coupled with existing Lactalis operations in Brazil, vaults the French dairy giant past Nestlé as the largest buyer of raw milk in Brazil. (Milkpoint, 12/6/17; Reuters, 12/5/17)

Nestlé acquired Canadian nutritional health products company Atrium Innovations. Once the deal closes, Atrium will become part of Nestlé Health Science. (Company reports)

Australia’s Burra Foods is spending A$25 million (about US$19 million) on a new infant formula blending and canning plant in Korumburra, Victoria. The plant will allow Burra to package consumer-ready cans suitable for direct export to China and expand its product range into adult and specialty powders. Burra, which is partially owned by a Mengniu Dairy subsidiary, expects to complete the plant in early 2019 . . . Ireland’s Ornua is reducing the size of its local sales and marketing teams in the Middle East as the region continues to struggle economically on the back of the prolonged slump in oil prices. The company said the Middle East remains a key strategic market despite two consecutive years of overall declining dairy imports . . . The China Food and Drug Administration reportedly approved Australia’s ViPlus Dairy to export three infant formula lines—two from cows’ milk, one from goats’ milk. ViPlus also said it signed two distributors in the Middle East/North Africa region and would send its first formula shipment to the Middle East early in 2018. (Radio Australia, 12/6/17; FoodBev.com, 12/5/17; Dairy Markets, 11/29/17)

China’s Bright Food Group launched a new shelf-stable premium yogurt in Hong Kong in what the company says is the first step in a broader export strategy. The company plans an overseas push following China’s Belt and Road Initiative, a massive infrastructure project spanning 60 countries and aimed at facilitating trade and business. Bright’s next targets reportedly are Indonesia, Macau, Singapore and Thailand. (South China Morning Post, 12/10/17)

Fonterra Co-operative Group formed a butter and cheese joint venture called Unifood with Russian processor/distributor Foodline. The two companies began working with each other five years earlier to produce and market cheese under the Anchor label in Russia. Unifood, owned 49 percent by Fonterra and 51 percent by Foodline, will manufacture 400 tons of butter and 100 tons of cheese per month, with other product lines in the works, according to a Russian media report. (The Dairy News, 12/8/17)

Peru’s Grupo Gloria opened a new US$48-million, 15,000-ton/year mozzarella cheese facility in Argentina’s Santa Fe Province. Gloria pursued the project to diversify away from milk powder. It is targeting export markets . . . Ireland’s Ornua plans to launch a search for a new CEO to replace Kevin Lane, who plans to step down in mid-2018. (Irish Independent, 12/13/17; Dairy Markets, 12/5/17)

Denmark’s Arla Foods and Germany’s DMK signed a deal that will see DMK manufacture 35,000 tons of mozzarella per year for Arla and will increase whey output at their existing dairy ingredients joint venture ArNoCo. Under the terms of the agreement, DMK will spend €15 million to convert its Nordhackstedt cheese plant to full mozzarella production by late 2018. Additional whey produced by the project will go to ArNoCo, which manufactures whey protein and lactose at Nordhackstedt as well as Arla Foods Ingredients’ Denmark Protein site in Videbæk, Denmark. Arla cited rising global mozzarella demand as the reason for the deal. (Company reports)

After a successful five-unit trial run, Pizza Hut UK is rolling out a vegan “cheese” option across all UK locations. Pizza Hut is charging customers a £1 premium for the vegan topping, which is supplied by Violife Foods. Separately, McDonald’s is making a soy-based burger called the McVegan a permanent menu item at all stores in Finland and Sweden after a very successful test run at a single Finnish location. The moves are seen as a nod to millennial and younger demographics seeking alternatives to standard fare. (Business Insider Nordic, 12/13/17; Live Kindly, 11/27/17)

A Brazilian court issued an injunction suspending the sale of Itambé Alimentosto France’s Lactalis following a motion regarding questions about the deal and how it related to the sale of Vigor Alimentos to Grupo Lala . . . Unilever sold its global spreads business to KKR for €6.25 billion (about US$7.4 billion). (Company reports; Reuters, 12/18/17)

Citing “a growing affinity for American restaurants in Egypt,” Arby’s Restaurant Group signed a deal with restaurant operator Vantage Egypt for Tourism and Entertainment to build 50 Arby’s units in the country starting in 2018. Vantage is also a franchisee of Papa John’s International . . . China’s Mengniu Dairy signed on as the official ice cream and drinkable yogurt supplier for next year’s World Cup in Russia, even though the country’s national team failed to clinch a spot in the tournament. (Reuters, 12/20/17; Nation’s Restaurant News, 12/13/17)

The U.S. Dairy Export Council fosters collaborative industry partnerships with processors, trading companies and others to enhance global demand for U.S. dairy products and ingredients. USDEC is primarily supported by Dairy Management Inc. through the dairy farmer checkoff.

Original Link: http://blog.usdec.org/usdairyexporter/2017-global-dairy-business-year-in-review-0?utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=59660122&_hsenc=p2ANqtz–1LFRx14WJ-mz8_lEj9OswxOY9Ysxcd3EsPiviZGcXJzEnDhArFp5pTjQvKUiDvFfIzKP1ZXlwqbPH08n0f1qSVXvwfafSRW3qNEzYxo5z58bybqw&_hsmi=59660122