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Dean Foods Acquire Two Milk Bottling Plants from Foremost Farms.

April 7 -- Dean Foods has acquired two milk bottling plants from co-operative Foremost Farms as consolidation in the US dairy sector continues.

The Ashwaubenon and Waukesha plants, which employ a total of 282 workers, will keep buying milk from their former owners and no changes to staff levels are foreseen, said Dean Foods, the largest dairy product manufacturer in the US. The company said it had bought the sites to increase its presence in Wisconsin.

Foremost Farms President Dave Fuhrmann said the plants had a "better chance for success" as part of Dean Foods.

He added: "As food retailers consolidate to gain market share and operating efficiencies, Foremost Farms has been challenged to efficiently supply customers who have a significant regional or national presence and prefer to have a sole supplier."

The divesture means Foremost, which is one of the largest co-operatives in the US, will focus on its butter, cheese and dairy ingredients segments. However, even given its relative size, the co-operative admitted it had struggled to meet the needs of retailers who were increasingly demanding a single milk supplier to meet their national needs.

Foremost spokesperson Joan Behr said: "We can certainly service retail customers in our region. Beyond that, however, Dean has a much larger network and they can better service the big retailers."

Dean Foods has more than 100 facilities across 35 US states and its products are sold under more than 50 brand names.
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Date:Apr 7, 2009
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