Prepared Foods December 13, 2004 enewsletter

Lactalis American Group Inc. announced the purchase of rondele Acquisition LLC. With this acquisition, the rondele line of gourmet spreadable cheeses joins the Lactalis USA line of premier specialty cheeses, including President brie, camembert and feta.

Philippe Surget, president of Lactalis USA, said, "We are thrilled by the acquisition of such a quality company and a great brand which will strongly reinforce Lactalis USA's line-up of specialty cheeses, which already include the famous President brand. We are looking forward to continue growing our specialty cheese business in the U.S. for many years to come."

Together, Lactalis USA and rondele are among the leading manufacturers of specialty cheeses in the United States.

In addition, Lactalis bought a majority stake in a Kurow milk plant in Poland for an undisclosed amount. Kurow, a small producer, outputs 15 million liters of milk per year, and specializes in cheese and creams, types of foods not available from Lactalis so far. The newly purchased plant does not meet all EU sanitary requirements.

According to Piotr Walczak, president of Lactalis Polska, the plant will adjust by May 2005. Sources also say the plant will boost milk-procurement quotas from milk farmers.

"This will trigger demand for milk in the Lublin region," says Edmund Borawski, president of Mlekpol, the largest milk producer in Poland.

Walczak says the purchase of Kurow is part of a wider strategy. In 1996, Lactalis bought Polser plant in Siemiatycze. Since then, the French company has invested a total of 20 million euros ($26 million) in the plant, which has become one of the largest producers of cheese in Poland.