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Sodiaal’s Acquisition of Entremont Gains French Approval

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Sodiaal’s Acquisition of Entremont Gains French Approval

Sodiaal’s Acquisition of Entremont Gains French Approval
September 06
06:53 2010

The French Competition Commission has approved dairy group Sodiaal’s acquisition of Entremont Alliance, the loss making French cheese producer. The deal will create the fourth largest dairy group in Europe with combined annual sales of more than Eur4b and processing over 5b litres of milk annually. Sodiaal still needs approval from the Belgian and Italian competition authorities.

Sodiaal owns French milk brand Candia and also has a 50% stake in Yoplait, the international yoghurt brand. However, Sodiaal’s partner in Yoplait, private equity firm PAI Partners, is reported to be considering selling its 50% stake in French yoghurt producer. With sales of Eur3.8b and a gross operating profit of Eur120m in 2009, Yoplait is valued at Eur1-1.2b.Yoplait is sold worldwide through a franchise network.

Speculation is also mounting that Sodiaal may sell part of its shareholding in Yoplait to reduce debt following its acquisition of Entremont. A sale of Yoplait is likely to attract the interest of global food processors such as Nestle, Arla Foods and General Mills, which operates the Yoplait franchise in the US, along with a number of private equity companies.

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