Belje plus, a member of Forten's group, and Meggle Croatia reached an agreement and signed an agreement on the purchase and sale of the property of Meggle's dairy in Osijek. With the purchase of real estate and the Meggle production line - with the intention of starting its own production in Osijek on January 1, 2021 - Belje will preserve the long tradition of milk production in that part of Slavonia, the Forten Group announced.

It is added that Belje will buy a "certain amount of milk" from the current subcontractors of Meggle. Also, by starting production in Osijek, Belje will buy a certain amount of milk from the current Meggle subcontractors. Employee needs are still being estimated, but about a hundred are expected to be hired.

In addition, Forten's group already produces about 10 percent of the total amount of milk produced in Croatia, which is about 5 percent of domestic needs. Most of the milk produced in Belje is used for the production of ABC cream cheese, whose annual production is at the level of 3700 tons and for whose portfolio plans for significant expansion have been developed.

"We are satisfied with the agreement reached and the conclusion of the sale of Meggle's property in Osijek and Belje's decision to continue production at that location after our withdrawal. After the Meggle Group made the final decision to shut down its production in Croatia, we made every effort to find a buyer for our assets to ensure that as many of our employees have new jobs as possible after December 31st and that our subcontractors do not have a delay in buying milk.Meggle continues the process of restructuring its business by the end of the year, in accordance with the agreement we reached with the unions, with timely and full fulfillment of all undertaken obligations ", said Marjan Vučak, President of the Management Board of Meggle Croatia.

Matthias Oettel, CEO of the Meggle Group, stressed that they are aware of the importance of preserving milk production in Osijek, which is why they postponed their decision as long as possible. "We are glad that it will continue with the new owner. Meggle has been a socially sensitive and responsible employer and a reliable business partner all these years. The achievement of this agreement with Forten's group confirms that we have remained in this restructuring process. we will continue to operate on the principles, ”Oettel emphasized.

Fabris Peruško, CEO of Forten Group, says that they are continuously working on strengthening the value and strengthening the portfolio of their brands.

"In order to use all the potentials of ABC fresh cream cheese, which is one of the strongest regional brands and our export products, Belje needs additional production capacities, so the withdrawal of Meggle enabled us to provide them in a short time. With the plant in Osijek we provided the prerequisites For the development of new products, produced from domestic raw materials, high quality and more added value, we continue to work on preserving and further growing domestic agricultural production, which, in addition to saving existing and creating new jobs, is of great importance for Slavonia and the wider community. "Forten's group looks at the business in the long run and we are now preparing the company for business in the post-crisis period, so that when the recovery starts we have the strongest possible lever of growth, and we finance this transaction entirely from operating business," said Peruško.

Andrej Dean, President of the Management Board of Belje, says that the takeover of Meggle's assets and the development of new products can be an additional incentive to increase the amount of milk produced and investments of small producers in dairy farms in Croatia.

"This would certainly have a positive impact on changing trends, after the long-term decline in milk production in Croatia was finally stopped this year. The dairy industry is one of the main focuses of the 2020-2025 strategy in the Forten Group's Agriculture and Belje it will be the bearer of development momentum in that segment, ”says Dean.

The transaction will be carried out after all necessary regulatory approvals have been obtained.