On November 1, Canadian dairy giant Saputo Inc. signed a deal to buy Betin Inc., the company behind Wisconsin-based Montchevre goat cheese.
Montchevre’s founder and President Arnaud Solandt termed the decision as a “wise move to be with a partner with more resources.”
Speaking to culture, Solandt dispelled all fears that the company’s name or its products would undergo any change. “No change in name. Montchevre will remain the flagship goat cheese brand for Saputo in the US,” Solandt said, adding that he would still be involved in the company affairs. “I am looking forward to writing this new chapter (for Montchevre). There is no retirement for me yet.”
Solandt said Montchevre has been planning to expand their line and range of products for some time now. However, the size of the current facility and other resources hampered any plans of growing and expanding. Solandt said Saputo has agreed to realize their growth plans, and together they are also looking at new products that have been in the pipeline for a while.
“There were others too,” Solandt said. “We decided on Saputo after much deliberation. They understood the challenges we were facing. We chose the right partner.”
Saputo is being very mindful of emotions of everyone involved, added Solandt. “We spoke to all (our) farmers who were worried. We are careful to maintain sustainability and our employees will all be well looked after, after we expand. There’s a lot of continuity and not much will change. We are all very satisfied that we are going to grow (with Saputo).”
In a statement posted on the company’s website and Facebook page, Solandt said: “(The decision to sell) has been difficult and emotional for us…it is based on the conviction that this alliance will provide a stronger, more secure market for our 500+ milk producers and will help propel Montchevre to new heights…There will be some logical integration of our businesses and Montchevre will become the flagship of Saputo’s Goat Cheese Division.”
The statement also said that Jean Rossard will continue as the plant manager at Belmont, and Solandt will act as a senior advisor, assisting in the development of the Saputo Goat Cheese Division.
Media reports quoted Saputo officials as saying the deal will enable their USA Cheese Division to broaden its presence in specialty cheese in the States. The deal is expected to close by the end of the year, though the financial terms of the deal are not immediately available.