Valio increase Estonian cheese holdings

Related tags Estonia Milk

Finnish dairy products company Valio is to acquire Norwegian firm
Synnöve Finden's 42 per cent holding in Estonian cheese producer
Võru Juust, leaving Valio with a 99 per cent stake in Võru Juust.

Valio​ and Synnöve also made a long-term agreement for cheese deliveries from Võru to Synnöve.

The dairy company said it will henceforth have a stronger presence in Estonia.

"This acquisition supports Valio's new strategy for an expanded home market that includes the Baltic states, Sweden and Western Russia in addition to Finland,"​ said the company in a statement, adding that the transaction will be finalised as soon as possible.

Valio first acquired its stake in Võru Juust in November last year, buying out the shares of Italian producer Saviola. Located in Võru, south of Tartu, Võru Juust is the leading cheese producer in Estonia, with sales of around €12 million.

At the time of the acquisition, Valio said that it would develop cheese production at Võru Juust as it sought to incerase sales to other markets, more than doubling its raw milk procurement in Estonia to more than 80 million kilos.

Võru Juust produces 4 million kilos of cheese a year, the majority of which is exported, to the EU and Russia. Atleet, a block cheese, is Võru Juust's best known brand in Estonia and Russia, but the company also makes Italian method Parmesan-type hard cheese.

Valio already also has a subsidiary in Estonia, Valio Eesti, which produces milk, fermented milk, sour cream, yoghurt, quark products and cottage cheese. The fresh products sold under the Alma and Valio brands hold about a third of the Estonian dairy product market, the comapny claimed.

Valio's other subsidiaries in central and eastern Europe are Valio St. Petersburg in Russia, Valio International in Lithuania and the joint venture RKP Valio in Latvia.

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