Saputo Inc. acquired Bute Island Foods and Reedsburg facility of Wisconsin Specialty Protein LLC. to accelerate growth in the dairy alternatives and value-added ingredients segments

An update on the Cheese market

Davide Milano, Oaklins' Cheese specialist comments on two transactions announced by Saputo, the Canada-based dairy champion: the acquisition of Bute Island Foods, a Scottish family-owned manufacturer of a variety of dairy alternative cheese products and the acquisition of the Reedsburg facility of Wisconsin Specialty Protein LLC. for a combined investment of US$155m accelerating in the dairy alternatives and value-added ingredients segments.

The ability to offer a broad product portfolio, anticipating upcoming trends and quickly respond to customers needs enable companies to succeed: vegan, lactose and gluten-free and dairy-alternatives are hot words nowadays. Companies can either invest own resources to expand the product portfolio or acquire existing players with a complementary product range and established know-how and technologies. Identifying and pursuing such opportunities is vital for companies willing to gain advantage on the competition. Oaklins cheese M&A advisory teams located in the most relevant countries in the world are well positioned and penetrated in the Dairy sector to identify and advise interested corporates in external growth strategies. DAVIDE MILANO, CHEESE SPECIALIST, OAKLINS

The operation at a glance

  • Saputo Inc. is one of the top ten dairy processors in the world, listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange. It produces, markets and distributes a wide range of dairy products, including cheese, fluid milk, extended shelf-life milk and cream products, cultured products and dairy ingredients. It employs +17,000 workers around the globe and recorded US$12b in revenues in 2020 with an EBITDA of approx. US$1,1b.
  • Bute Island Foods is a family-owned, UK-based leading manufacturer and supplier of dairy, lactose and gluten free vegan cheese products. With more than 30 years of experience, it is mostly known for its alternative dairy products (in blocks, slices, creamy and grated) manufactured and distributed under the Sheese vegan brand, alongside private label brands. It employs 180 workers and is based in the Isle of Bute, Scotland.
  • Reedsburg facility of Wisconsin Specialty Protein, LLC is a facility located in Wisconsin (USA) that manufactures value-added ingredients such as goat whey, organic lactose and other dairy powders and it employs approximately 40 people.
  • Saputo completed the acquisition of Bute Island Foods and is expected to complete the acquisition of Reedsburg facility by the end of May, for a total combined investment of approximately US$155m.

Rationale of the operation

Being already a champion in its field, the acquisitions fits perfectly in the Saputo’s strategy to expand its presence in dairy alternatives and specialty ingredients in the broad dairy hemisphere, in order to anticipate new trends in consumption and quickly respond to customers’ demands.

The cheese industry is adapting to new trends that are overtaking the world. A willingness to add new categories to its offerings has increased the interest in cheese alternative products. Industry leader Saputo is in acquisitive mode having recently added two new companies to its roster and they are still looking for “faux-mage” opportunities to add to their existing portfolio companies. ERIC CARDINAL, PARTNER, OAKLINS, CANADA

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Davide Eugenio Milano Turin, Italy
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Eric cardinal
Eric Cardinal Montreal, Canada
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