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Swiss dairy group Emmi has acquired U.S. specialized cheese company Roth Käse for an undisclosed sum, positioning the United States to become the former's biggest foreign market and vastly boosting its position in the U.S. cheese market, which has an estimated net value of $16 billion.
Since 2006 Emmi -- whose specialty cheese segment accounted for around $1 billion and grew around 15 percent last year -- has been a strategic partner with a minority stake in Monroe, Wis.-based Roth Käse, which is growing strongly on the U.S. cheese scene, especially in the foodservice sector.
With the deal in place, Emmi said it plans to reinforce its market position as the leading producer of Swiss cheese around the world, with a special focus on Italy, Germany, and the United States.
In a statement, both companies said they are focused on joint growth, but will continue to operate as separate entities in the future.
Roth employs some 125 people and accounts for some $90 million in sales.Steve McKean and Fermo Jaeckle will continue to manage Roth Käse's operational business in 2009, and will both remain on the company's advisory board for the long-term.
Emmi is the largest Swiss milk processor and one of the most innovative premium dairies in Europe.