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Cross-border dairy processing co-operative Lakeland Dairies has completed the acquisition of Belgianbased butterfat business De Brandt Dairy International NV in a development that will significantly increase the co-op’s value add capability.

Lakeland Dairies, which has 3,200 farm families supplying 2bn litres of high-quality milk annually, has acquired De Brandt’s customer base as well as other key assets of the De Brandt butterfat business in mainland Europe.

The conclusion of the deal follows detailed negotiations and will further enhance Lakeland Dairies’ portfolio of products and geographical reach.

The acquisition allows Lakeland Dairies to significantly grow its operational capability in the premium. Texturised butter brings a technical solution to specialist requirements in the catering and baking industries. It facilitates the preparation of pastries, improves the expansion of layers during baking and enhances taste and quality in final consumer and foodservice products. The De Brandt business comprises of texturised butter in addition to conventional butterfat’s, all of which will now be serviced by Lakeland Dairies.

Based at Dendermonde, approximately 30km northwest of Brussels, De Brandt is a successful familyowned business established over 100 years ago. It has remained a family-owned business throughout this time until its acquisition by Lakeland Dairies.

Lakeland Dairies and De Brandt have enjoyed a long and fruitful relationship over many decades, including direct supply arrangements between the Lakeland Dairies butter processing facility in Ballyrashane, Co. Derry / Londonderry and De Brandt’s European operations for many years.

Commenting on the deal, Lakeland Dairies Chairperson Niall Mathews said: “As a farmer-owned and run dairy co-operative our purpose is to deliver sustainable prosperity to our 3,200 dairy farm families across the island of Ireland. The ICOS dairy committee chairman went on to say, “The acquisition of the De Brandt butterfat business is a real show of strength by Lakeland Dairies and opens new markets, product categories and opportunities for the co-op to further grow and develop its European business. I acknowledge the hard work and dedication of those involved in concluding this deal and I look forward to seeing the integration of the De Brandt butterfat business into Lakeland Dairies for the benefit of our farmers, our staff, our customers and the broad community of people we serve.”

Lakeland Dairies Chairman and ICOS Dairy Committee chairman Niall Matthews “ the purchase is a real show of strength for Lakeland Dairies.”

Commenting on the deal, Lakeland Dairies’ Group CEO Colin Kelly said: “We’re excited about the acquisition of the De Brandt butterfat business which will benefit Lakeland Dairies on a number of fronts. Having experienced a decade of volume growth, the next decade is about strategically increasing our added-value capability to ensure that we are in a position to deliver the strongest possible returns to our farm families. This acquisition gives us a firm foothold in new markets in Europe and beyond, enabling us to further grow and develop our world-class product offering for our current long term and future new customers.

“We are an ambitious, innovative and outward-facing co-op that is driven by adding the maximum possible value to each litre of high-quality milk produced by our farmers. Enhancing our presence in the growing market for textured butter is another important step in our strategy and I look forward to seeing the benefits of this development in the years ahead.”