MONTREAL – Saputo Inc. plans to close its two cheese processing plants in Europe, one located in Heiden, Germany, and the other located in Newcastle Emlyn, Wales in the United Kingdom, and exit the European market. The U.K. closure is subject to a 30-day consultation period before the effort is finalized.

“Since acquiring the businesses, Saputo has aimed to penetrate the European market and get a better understanding of its realities and dynamics,” the company said in a statement. “The past few years have been a learning and challenging experience. Today, the Saputo European business does not have sufficient critical mass to be profitable, and the company does not see short to mid-term opportunities to ensure such profitability. Saputo has therefore decided to close its Germany plant and proposes the closure of its United Kingdom facility, subject to the consultation period, to further concentrate efforts and resources in its current platforms and other markets.”

Saputo acquired the German plant in 2006 and the U.K. plant in 2007. The plant in Germany specializes in the manufacturing of Italian specialty cheeses for the retail market, and the U.K. plant processes mozzarella for the food service market.

The company said once the closures are finalized it expects to incur costs of C$15 million ($14,652,676).

In early January Saputo completed the acquisition of Morningstar Foods L.L.C., a subsidiary of the Dean Foods Co., for $1.45 billion.