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Alto Dairy to be Sold to Saputo USA for $160 Million
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 01/30/2008

The Waupun-based Alto Dairy Cooperative is being sold to Saputo Cheese USA Inc. for $160 million. According to sources, the sale has been endorsed by Alto's board of directors, but is subject to the approval of its members. A special meeting will be held in Fond du Lac later next month to discuss the issue further.

Alto President and CEO Rich Scheuerman says the cooperative will receive full market-value for its business as part of the deal.

"Alto Dairy is an industry leader and we have a solid strategy for our business, making the cooperative attractive to strategic partners and buyers," Scheuerman said. "We are looking forward to presenting this opportunity to our members."

Scheuerman also noted that Saputo has extensive dairy experience with facilities in Canada, Argentina, Germany, United Kingdom and across the United States, which will help Alto Dairy's manufacturing facilities grow in the future. He says deal will 'only improve the long-term viability of the business.'

Saputo Spokesperson Manon Goudreault said her company was contacted by Alto about the idea of selling.

"They were looking to sell their activities," Goudreault said. "This transaction is really part of our strategic orientation and it will help us to expand our core business in the U.S. It will also help us to grow in the U.S. and to get a stronger presence."

Saputo is one of the top 20 dairy processors in the world, the largest dairy processor in Canada, among the top five cheese producers in the United States, the third-largest dairy processor in Argentina and the largest snack-cake manufacturer in Canada. They have 15 plants in the United States, including in Wisconsin and California. Alto plants are located in Waupun and Black Creek, where they employ over 465 workers.

Alto Dairy is a 114 year-old cooperative owned by the dairy farm families who supply it with milk. They have won many awards for its American- and Italian-style cheeses.

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