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Agropur acquisitions pay off in 2008

New acquisitions poured added revenue into Quebec dairy processing firm Agropur during 2008, the producers’ co-op reported Wednesday.

During its annual meeting Wednesday in Quebec City, Agropur reported earnings (before patronage dividends and taxes) of $121.3 million for 2008, on sales of $2.8 billion.

That marks an increase in sales from over $2.45 billion in 2007, when the company reported earnings (before patronage dividends) of $129.7 million.

“Agropur is in good financial health and has all the tools it needs to face current and future challenges,” CEO Pierre Claprood said in a release Wednesday. “Our priority is to continue to develop the co-operative while maintaining, and even improving, this enviable position.”

During 2008, Agropur bought into a joint venture, La Lacteo, with food firm Adecoagro in Argentina. It also bought Wisconsin cheesemaker Trega Foods, Drummondville, Que. dairy Laiterie Lamothe, and, in December, Minnesota dairy firm Schroeder Milk.

“These acquisitions are part of Agropur’s development strategy, and other expansion projects are currently being studied,” the company said.

The Agropur co-op’s founders “dreamt big and with just cause,” president Serge Riendeau said in Wednesday’s release. “They wanted to found an organization without borders and this is precisely what Agropur has become.”

Agropur’s dairy product brands include Quebon, Oka, Sealtest, Natrel, Island Farms and Yoplait. The co-operative has over 3,600 members, employs almost 5,00 people and processes over 2.2 billion litres of milk annually.

New products introduced in 2008 included Oka L’Artisan cheese, Natrel Nature-Pure organic milk and Yoplait Minigo immuni+ Jr., a cheese-based pudding-type snack.

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