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Slovenian-Italian Joint Venture Acquires Vipava Dairy

Vipava, 04 November (STA) - A joint venture in majority ownership of Italian dairy Trevisanalat on Monday completed the acquisition of the Vipava dairy. The seller, Agroind Vipava, would not disclose the value of the deal.

Trevisanalat, the Resana-based dairy which specialises in production of the mozzarella cheese, holds 80% and the Kranj-based cooperative Mlekop 20% in the joint venture Ekolat.

The new owner of dairy Mlekarna Vipava plans to launch production of mozzarella and other dairy products in Vipava in the first half of 2014 with a staff of between 15 and 20, Agroind Vipava announced on Monday.

The new owner has also pledged to continue to produce the Vipava dairy's flagship product - the sharp-tasting Nanoški sir cheese, Slovenia's first product with Protected Designation of Origin status.

The deal will secure a stable buyer of milk for cooperatives from the north-western Gorenjsko region that set up Mlekop, the Slovenian partner in the joint venture.

The sale of Mlekarna Vipava is the second major acquisition in the industry in Slovenia after France's Lactalis took over Ljubljanske mlekarne, Slovenia's largest dairy, earlier this year.

The deal will enable Agroind Vipava 1894 to focus on wine-making as its core business and to "importantly" reduce its debts, chairman Boris Jež said, but could not disclose how much Agroind got for the dairy.

He revealed that a total of 27 companies and associations from Slovenia and abroad had expressed interest in acquiring the dairy.

Agroind Vipava is also on sale as its current owner, the Vipava Cooperative, is seeking a strategic partners to buy its 93.85% stake or investors who would recapitalise the ailing company.

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