The history of Arla Foods started when Dairy Company MD Foods merged with dairy Cooperative Arla in April of 2000.
The two companies had been co-operating since 1995, but it was only in 1999 that both parties began to seriously consider a merger. In June of 2001, Arla Foods published a strategy plan that it hoped to complete in five years. This plan included the closing of 17 dairy farms located in Denmark and the displacement of about 1,000 people.
In 2002, Arla Foods went into a merger with the cooperative Hellevad Omegns Andelsmejeri. Two years after, the company’s subsidiary in Canada bought the National Cheese Company Ltd., a Canadian cheese producer and importer. In 2005, Arla Foods partnered with a Chinese company, China Mengniu Dairy, to produce milk powder for distribution to the Chinese market.
A year after, the company continued its expansion by acquiring White Clover Dairy, a United States company that produces specialty dairy products. This acquisition allowed Arla Foods to access the U.S. market. In the same year, Arla also acquired Tholstrup Cheese, a private dairy company. Still in the same year, Arla was able to acquire 30 percent of the shares in the dairy company Ingman Foods. This purchase was completed in January of 2007.
Also in 2007, Arla Foods merged with Express Dairies, a company based in the United Kingdom. This merger lead to the formation of Arla Foods UK Plc. This series of acquisitions, mergers and purchases continued in the succeeding years, making Arla Foods one of the biggest dairy companies internationally.
Currently, aside from its ongoing international expansion, Arla Foods has become a leader in supplying bacterial cultures and dairy ingredients for use in agricultural and manufacturing companies worldwide. The company is also a leader in supplying cheese and powdered milk products in Europe, Asia, USA and the Middle East.
Headquarters: Arhus, Denmark
Ownership Type: Private (Cooperative)
No. of Employees: 16,215 (as of 2010)
Geography: Sweden, Denmark, The Netherlands, United Kingdom, Finland, Germany, Russia, USA, Poland, China, North America, The Middle East, Canada, Greece, Norway, Spain, Brazil
Demography: Dairy shoppers, food processing companies, agricultural companies
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