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Agropur buys Quebec Camembert, Brie maker

Dairy giant Agropur has bought its way further into the Canadian fine fromage market by taking over a top Quebec manufacturer of Camembert- and Brie-type cheeses.

Longueuil, Que.-based Agropur announced Friday it’s bought the assets of Fromagerie Damafro and its sister cheesemaker, Fromagerie Clement, for an undisclosed sum.

Damafro, based at St-Damase, just south of St-Hyacinthe in the province’s Monteregie region, was owned and operated by the Bonnet family of cheesemakers, who came to Quebec from the Brie region of France.

“My family and I are delighted that Damafro is becoming part of such a solid organization,” Damafro president Michel Bonnet said in the dairy co-operative’s release Friday. “Agropur will invest in the business and build on the efforts we have made over the years.”

“This is a good fit which expands our presence in markets for superior-quality products in what is a fast-growing segment,” Agropur chairman Serge Riendeau said in the same release.

Damafro employs 195 people making fresh-milk cheeses and Greek yogurts for the Canadian and U.S. markets, with product lines including Bries and Camemberts such as Brie Snack, P’tit Connaisseur, Le Manoir and Le Trappeur double- and triple-creme.

The company boasts having launched Quebec’s first-ever soft washed rind cheese, Saint-Damase, in the late 1990s and also makes goat cheeses including Chevre des Alpes, Le Chevre Noir, Les Medaillons and Gouda de chevre.

Damafro, whose products are sold through major retail chains including Loblaws, Sobeys/Safeway, Longos, Metro and Costco, has also been billed as a leading processor of goats’ milk in both Quebec and Canada since 2005.

Damafro employees will report to Agropur’s fine cheese and ingredients division once the company is fully merged into Agropur, the co-op said Friday.

“This acquisition strengthens Agropur’s leading position in the production and marketing of fine cheese in Canada,” co-op CEO Robert Coallier said.

Agropur’s own stable of cheese brands includes Agropur, Schroeder, Anco and Oka.

The co-op has gone mostly outside Quebec for acquisitions in recent months, including B.C. ice cream maker Coast Mountain Dairy, Nova Scotia’s Cook’s Dairy, Atlantic Canada dairy co-op Farmers Dairy and, most recently, Montreal-based dairy export marketing firm M. Larivee International (MLI). — AGCanada.com Network

Related stories:
Agropur buys Montreal dairy goods brokerage, Nov. 18, 2013
Agropur purchases B.C. ice cream maker, July 26, 2013
Agropur to buy Nova Scotia’s Cook’s Dairy, June 20, 2013

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