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Hochland acquires cream cheese producer Franklin Foods in the USA

16.01.2017
Hochland will use the strong market position of its new subsidiary to further develop their European brands in the US market.
The German cheese manufacturer Hochland has acquired 100% of the shares of Franklin Foods Inc., a US cream cheese producer as of January 1st. Confidential terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Similar to Hochland, Franklin Foods is a cheese producer with a long history: The firm was established in 1899 in Vermont originally under the name “Hahn’s Cheese Company”. Today, the headquarters is in Florida. With revenues of approx. 140 million US$ in 2016, Franklin Foods is the third largest cream cheese producer in the USA. It operates two production sites in Vermont and Arizona with 200 employees. Franklin Foods sells its own brands and private label products to food service companies as well as food retailers. The company has grown rapidly in the past few years. 

After the establishment of their US sales organization Bergland Cheese USA LLC in 2014, this acquisition is a further strategic step by Hochland into this key market. “The strong market position, nationwide distribution and two modern production plants of Franklin Foods offer Hochland the ideal platform for a successful implementation of our own brands and products in the USA”, said Peter Stahl, CEO of Hochland SE.

The United States represent the world’s biggest cheese market. Cream cheese is especially popular and this category exceeded the overall growth of the US cheese market in 2016. Hochland’s goal is to further enhance their European brands as well as Franklin Foods products in the USA.

As a medium-sized, privately owned company with more than 100 years of experience in the production and marketing of cheese, Franklin Foods complements existing Hochland businesses and is an excellent strategic fit. Hochland’s US Holding Bergland Cheese will take over 100% of Franklin Foods shares. Hochland will continue to run the two Franklin Foods production sites with their existing management team and employees.
 
Hochland Group
Hochland is a company with a long tradition based in Heimenkirch, a small town in the Allgäu region of southern Germany. From the outset, the company has specialized in the development, production, refinement and marketing of cheese. A production site for vegan products was opened in 2015.

Hochland brands Almette (cream cheese), Hochland (processed cheese, hard and semi-hard cheese), Grünländer (hard and semi-hard cheese), Patros (Greek style feta/white cheese), Gervais (curd cheese) and Valbrie (soft ripened cheese) are very popular in Germany and other European countries. Hochland operates cheese production sites in six European countries with approx. 4.200 employees. The company is celebrating its 90th anniversary this year. In 2016, it generated revenues of approx. 1.2 billion €, with a sales volume that exceeded 300.000 tons for the first time in the company’s history. This makes Hochland one of the leading privately owned cheese producers in Europe.

Franklin Foods Inc.
The company was established in 1899 in Franklin County, Vermont, and was initially named “Hahn’s Cheese Company”. Franklin Foods Inc. operate two production sites, one in Enosburg Falls in Vermont with more than 100 employees. The second plant was opened in 2013 in Casa Grande, Arizona with a staff of approx. 80 people, while the corporate headquarters is located in Delray Beach, Florida.

Franklin Foods products are distributed to industrial, institutional, foodservice, private label, supermarket, and club store customers across the United States. Their most popular brands, among others, are “Hahn’s” and “Green Mountain Farms”, distributed across all their sales channels.