Fortenova Group has taken over a dairy production plant in Osijek, Croatia, formerly operated by Meggle Croatia.
The deal, which was completed on 1 January, enables Fortenova's Belje brand to continue its 70-year tradition of producing dairy products in Osijek, retaining 88 employees working in milk production.
The acquisition of the former Meggle dairy in Osijek had previously been outlined in an agreement signed last October between Fortenova Group and Meggle Croatia on the sale and purchase of manufacturing assets.
The raw material for Belje’s Osijek dairy will be delivered by 249 contractors, with the total daily delivery quantities estimated to be more than 20,000 litres of milk. The milk will be purchased at market price, which depends on the milk quality (class I and II), as well as fat and protein content. Belje will pay factory premiums to producers per the quantities of milk delivered.
Fortenova Group accounts for around 10% of the total milk produced in Croatia, which meets around 5% of the local needs.
Most of the milk produced by Belje is used for the production of ABC cheese, which currently boasts an annual production level of 3,700 tonnes.
Fabris Peruško, Fortenova Group’s chief executive officer highlighted the "message of optimism" the deal brings by maintaining the employment of numerous dairy employees, as well as continuing contracts for producers.
The president of the management board of Meggle Croatia, Marjan Vučak, said he is "grateful" to stakeholders for their cooperation in the sale, adding that Meggle will continue operations in Croatia.
Contractors of Belje’s Osijek dairy are mainly family farms (OPG’s) from Slavonia’s five counties, from Mohovo in the east to Čađavica in the west. Most of the farms have a long tradition in milk production.
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