July 23, 2024

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A-ware makes acquisitions and continues to grow in Belgium – News Melk

A-ware makes acquisitions and continues to grow in Belgium – News Melk

Royal A-Wear

News Milk

Today at 12:00 noon – Claes van der HorstOne comment

A-ware is strengthening its presence in the Belgian dairy market with the acquisition of the family-owned company The Dairy Food Group. The company, which is active in the Belgian provinces of Limburg, Brabant and Antwerp, was purchased from the Nijs family. The product range mainly includes fresh dairy products, cheese, whipped cream and desserts.

The acquisition still requires formal approval from the European Commission. CEO Jan Anker is happy with the announced acquisition and sees it as strengthening its position in the company’s second home market. The companies’ business areas reinforce each other. From a synergy point of view, there is logic to this move.

300 million euros trading volume
According to its website, the Dairy Food Group is a private producer with around 260 dairy farmers and more than 200 million litres of milk. The company employs around 400 people and has an annual turnover of €300 million in 2023. The milk is collected by the Belgian Milk Company (BMC) and processed by the four other operating companies Limelco, Eurodesserts, Incopack and Incorock. They operate from three locations, in Zonhoven, Delsem-Stokkem and Pringen.

A-ware has made a series of acquisitions in Belgium in recent years. It began in 2015 with the purchase of creamery company La Concorde near Brussels. In 2021, the takeover of the milk powder plant of FrieslandCampina in Aalter was completed, after which the company also attracted Belgian dairy farmers for the first time. In 2022, this was followed by the acquisitions of the family business Olympia in Herne and the former Holbekhof, now A-ware Kruibeke.

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Aerial view of the Incopack production site in Dilsen-Stokkem.

A-ware Belgium has developed its own milk pricing system for the dairy farmers supplying the plant in Aalter, based on the system in the Netherlands. The former dairy farmers in Olympia have been supplying A-ware Belgium under this milk pricing system since the beginning of 2024. CEO Jan Anker can only say how this will work for the dairy farmers of the Dairy Food Group after the proposed acquisition is approved. For the time being, their current payment system will be maintained. Any other system will first be discussed with the dairy farmers.

Royal A-ware’s relative position in the Belgian market will not change as a result of the new acquisition. The company remains the third largest dairy company after LDA and Milcobel.

Growth Agenda
In 2023, A-ware will process a total of 2.6 billion kilos of milk in the Netherlands and Belgium. Mozzarella production will start in northern Spain the following year. The plant it bought from Danone last year is being converted for this purpose. Recruitment of dairy farmers in northern Spain will start after the summer. In addition, A-ware has developed a state-of-the-art cheddar dairy plant in collaboration with SCE Epiim and Interfood in Estonia. In Ireland, the Kilkenny cheese factory will start operating in early 2024, in which it has invested with the Irish cooperative Tyrlane. It will officially open in October.

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