Market trends

Background

Emmi invests in goat and sheep milk

The Swiss dairy company Emmi has acquired a majority stake in Europe’s leading suppliers of organic goat and sheep milk products – Leeb Biomilch.

Leeb Biomilch GmbH was founded in 2001 and established a leading position in Europe for organic goat’s and sheep’s milk products in fresh and UHT milk, milk drinks and yogurt. It has some 50 employees and generates annual sales of approximately € 15 million. The company obtains its milk from around 100 Austrian organic farmers.

I love my goat and I love my sheep are brands of Leeb Biomilch. Photo: Leeb
I love my goat and I love my sheep are brands of Leeb Biomilch. Photo: Leeb

Growing in goat and sheep milk products

The Swiss company Emmi has now taken a 66% stake in Leeb Biomilch. With this, the Swiss company is building on its position in this market. The acquisition also expands Emmi’s range of organic vegan products. Goat’s milk products are among the most attractive niches in the international dairy industry and Emmi has gradually been expanding its international goat’s milk network since 2010 through its acquisition of Californian company Cypress Grove and Swiss brand Le Petit Chevrier. Emmi’s goat’s milk network now includes:

  • 2 goat’s milk processors in the US (Cypress Grove, Redwood Hill),
  • 3 in Europe (Bettinehoeve (NL), Goat Milk Powder (NL), Lácteos Caprinos (ES)) and
  • AVH Dairy, a global trading company also based in the Netherlands.

These are all small to medium-sized companies with attractive positions in selected segments.

Jörg Hackenbuchner: “Together, we have managed to develop organic sheep’s and goat’s milk products from very little to an attractive niche range that enjoys strong demand throughout Europe”.
Jörg Hackenbuchner: “Together, we have managed to develop organic sheep’s and goat’s milk products from very little to an attractive niche range that enjoys strong demand throughout Europe”.

Deal expected to close in summer 2019

In a first step, Emmi will acquire 66% of the shares from the 2 owners, Hubert Leeb and Jörg Hackenbuchner, who will retain the remaining 34%. “Together, we have managed to develop organic sheep’s and goat’s milk products from very little to an attractive niche range that enjoys strong demand throughout Europe,” says Jörg Hackenbuchner. Hubert Leeb adds: “By selling the majority stake to Emmi, we aim to boost its growth even further.” Hubert Leeb and Jörg Hackenbuchner will remain with the company in their current roles as managing directors. No changes to staff are planned in other areas either. The transaction is expected to close in summer 2019, subject to approval by the Austrian Federal Competition Authority. The parties have agreed not to disclose the purchase price.