Saputo to acquire DCI Cheese parent company

by Keith Nunes
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MONTREAL — Saputo Inc. has entered into an agreement to acquire Fairmount Cheese Holdings Inc., Dallas, the parent company of DCI Cheese Company Inc., for $270.5 million. Fairmount is owned by the Chicago-based private equity firm GTCR. Saputo said the acquisition will complement the activities of its dairy products division in the United States and increase its presence in the specialty cheese category.

DCI Cheese is one of the largest specialty cheese marketers in the United States. The company has operations in Green Bay, Wis., Carlstadt, N.J., and Santa Rosa, Calif. It employs approximately 475. Brand names that the company markets its product line include County Line, Great Midwest, Joan of Arc, King's Choice, Nikkos, Salemville, il Giardino and Organic Creamery, as well as under private labels.

For the year ended Dec. 31, 2010, DCI Cheese’s earnings after EBITDA were $34 million and sales were approximately $460 million.

Founded in 2003, Fairmount was created to consolidate companies in the specialty cheese category. The initial platform acquisition was DCI Cheese in 2005, but in 2006 and 2007 Fairmount acquired G&G Specialty Foods, Santa Rosa; Green Bay Cheese Co., Green Bay, Wis.; Swissrose International, Inc., Moonachie, N.J.; and Advantage International Foods Corporation, West Caldwell, N.J. Each acquisition was later consolidated into DCI Cheese.

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