Major milling company merger announced in Switzerland

by Emily Wilson
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GENEVA, SWITZERLAND — Swiss flour milling company Minoteries de Plainpalais SA has announced the purchase of a 95% stake in Eberle Bruggmuhle AG, a milling company based in Goldach and formerly owned by Ostschweizerischen Mühlen AG (OMAG). The merger, which is retroactive to January, will operate under the corporate name of Groupe Minoteries SA under the direction of General Manager Wolfgang Martz.

The new company includes the wheat flour mills of Barns-Marnand and Sion in French-speaking Switzerland and Bruggmuhle Goldach and Eberle Muhlen, in Rickenbach b/Wil in eastern Switzerland. Operational headquarters are located in Barns-Marnand.

The merger results in a total annual flour milling capacity of 120,000 tonnes, wheat equivalent, for Groupe Minoteries, the company said. Groupe Minoteries officials forecast consolidated sales turnover of almost CHF140 million (U.S.$89.7 million) and a market share of about 25%, which would equal that of the current market leader.

The merger is part of a strategy that envisages a stronger Swiss value-added production chain and a better use of economies of scale, officials said.

The merger is part of a trend toward concentration in Swiss milling, the company noted, and results from the liberalization of Swiss agriculture and agribusiness. The goal of these reforms is to make Swiss agriculture and processing sectors more competitive and "euro compatible," officials said.

In the feed market, Groupe Minoteries SA, along with the Biomill mark, also is the largest Swiss producer and exporter of dry pet food.