Emmi ”copes well”, acquires Bettinehoeve

9 Feb 2016

Swiss milk processor Emmi generated net sales of CHF 3,213.9 million in 2015, a decline of -3.0 % and acquired Dutch family goats milk business Bettinehoeve, said to be Benelux's largest goats cheese producer.

Emmi ”copes well”, acquires Bettinehoeve

Swiss milk processor Emmi generated net sales of CHF 3,213.9 million in 2015. In organic terms, i.e. adjusted for currency and acquisition effects, this corresponds to a decline of -3.0 %. Emmi says it therefore coped well with the euro shock, particularly in the international markets. Organic sales in the business division Europe fell by just -0.8 %, while those in the business division Americas rose by 2.8 %. The business division Switzerland came under greater pressure as a result of increased retail tourism and higher imports, posting a decline of -5.0 %. Brands such as Emmi Caffè Latte, Kaltbach and Jogurtpur grew, which is pleasing.

Emmi’s CEO Urs Riedener stated: “Our international business made a major contribution to mitigating the considerable drop in sales in Switzerland. The fact that this was achieved despite the necessary price increases for export products demonstrates how robust our brands are. Price and import pressure is a challenge in Switzerland, which we will continue to face in 2016.”

In a separate announcement, Emmi said that it is to acquire a 60 % stake in Dutch family goats milk business Bettinehoeve. Bettinehoeve is said to have been successful in this market for more than 30 years and to be currently the largest producer of fresh and ripened goat’s cheese in the Benelux countries.

The European milk market has become increasingly challenging in recent years, Emmi claims. The company focuses on premium and niche markets and exports premium products manufactured in Switzerland, such as Caffè Latte and Kaltbach cheeses. Through its foreign subsidiaries, Emmi claims that it is a leader in niche markets like desserts, lactose-free dairy, specialty cheese and goat’s milk products. The trend for goat’s milk products is based in particular on the nutritional benefits, Emmi notes.

Emmi entered the international market for goat’s milk products in summer 2010 with its acquisition of US goat’s cheese producer Cypress Grove Chevre. It has gradually expanded its activities in the segment in recent years: in 2013, through the acquisition of a 70% stake in Dutch AVH dairy, which specialises in the export of goat’s and sheep’s milk products, and most recently in December 2015 with the purchase of the US company Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery.

Bettinehoeve was founded by Johan Ewijk, the father of the current Managing Director, Sybren Ewijk, in 1982. The company, which specialises in the manufacture of fresh and ripened goat’s cheese, currently employs some 115 staff at its two Dutch production locations and generated sales of around €40 million in 2015.

Bettinehoeve’s goat’s milk specialities are largely distributed under its own “Bettine” brand. Bettinehoeve’s main market is the Netherlands, where it generates just under 50% of its sales. Key export markets include the UK, Germany, France, the Nordic countries and Belgium. The company works together with Emmi subsidiary AVH dairy in overseas distribution.

“This partnership offers great synergies and growth opportunities, for example by increasing the distribution of the ‘Bettine’ ranges through the sales network Emmi has in Europe and overseas,” said Sybren Ewijk, Managing Director of Bettinehoeve. “I am confident that Emmi is the right decision for Bettinehoeve. We have worked together with Emmi over the past three years in the joint venture that we share (Goat Milk Powder). Emmi is a reliable partner. In addition, they have encouraged us to continue on our successful path.”

“Emmi now has a tried-and-tested network of firms successfully operating in the premium and specialities markets,” said Urs Riedener, CEO of the Emmi Group. “We have shown our ability to do a particularly good job of integrating pioneering family-owned enterprises into the Emmi Group over the long term. Maintaining the culture specific to a firm helps to further reinforce its success on the market”.