Lactalis has acquired the nutrition business of South African company Aspen Pharmacare for €739.8 million as it aims to expand in the infant formula market.
The deal includes Aspen’s brands Alula and Infacare which are present in areas including Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. The unit has production sites in South Africa, New Zealand and Mexico.
Aspen Nutrition has 1,100 employees and Lactalis said the unit its complementary to its existing nutrition business.
The move sees Lactalis aim to revive its nutrition unit following a scandal earlier this year in which it was forced to remove 12 million boxes of powdered baby milk from supermarkets in 83 countries in response to an outbreak of salmonella.
The French firm may now aim to profit from rising demand for infant formula in China as consumers continue to look towards foreign brands.
This week marks ten years since the tainted milk scandal in China which led to the death of at least six infants and affected thousands more, when milk powder was found to be contaminated with the chemical compound melamine.
For Aspen, the deal – which is expected to close in the first quarter of 2019 – will allow it to focus on its main pharmaceutical operations.
Stephen Saad, Aspen Group chief executive, said: “We are pleased to announce that an agreement has been signed to divest of our nutritionals business to French-based Lactalis Group, a leading multinational dairy corporation.”