Emmi has honed its strategy in North America over the past few months. Its planned measures include making more targeted use of resources to strengthen its position in the speciality cheese business. The acquisition of 100 % of the shares in the cheese business of J.L. Freeman Limited Partnership Cheese Import and Distribution Operation (hereinafter: J.L. Freeman), domiciled in Boucherville, Canada, marks another step in the desired direction.
The deal allows Emmi to establish another important base in North America that will build on its strong position in the US and existing presence in Canada. With this acquisition, the company is securing direct access to an interesting market, extending the value chain of its speciality cheese exports to Canada and creating potential for the export of additional products from the Emmi Group.
One of the largest cheese importers in Canada
J.L. Freeman is one of the leading cheese importers in Canada. More than half of its imports are cheeses from Switzerland – such as Le Gruyère AOP, Emmentaler AOP, Fondue and various specialities – and another important part is cheese from Italy and France. J.L. Freeman generates sales of around CAD 38 million (almost CHF 35 million) and employs 18 members of staff in its cheese business.
Emmi’s CEO Urs Riedener commented: “J.L. Freeman is an established, profitable company which has been working successfully with Emmi for almost 60 years. Its leading position in the import of speciality cheeses offers an excellent marketing opportunity for Swiss cheese varieties and specialities such as Kaltbach and Swiss Fondue.”
J.L. Freeman cheese business will continue to operate independently and under the leadership of its current management in future.
The acquisition is planned for the first quarter of 2015 and will enter into force once the necessary official authorisations from the Canadian government have been issued.
Stronger focus on the speciality cheese business in North America
The US is Emmi’s largest foreign market and the company has been generating solid sales growth there for years. Emmi’s focus in North America is on the speciality cheese business. The first pillar of this business is Emmi Roth USA. The company produces renowned brands of cheese made from cow’s milk and imports speciality cheeses from Switzerland (including Kaltbach, Fondue and Le Gruyère AOP). The second pillar is Cypress Grove Chevre, which produces premium goat’s cheese and is based in Arcata, California. As the leading importer of speciality cheeses in Canada, J.L. Freeman ideally complements Emmi’s position in North America.
J.L. Freeman website (English and French): http://www.jlfreeman.ca