PARIS – Looking to grow its presence in China, the Bel Group acquired the controlling stake in Shandong Junjun Cheese.

Bel announced it closed a deal to purchase 70% of the Chinese company’s share capital, in what Bel’s leadership views as a new phase of international expansion. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

Acquiring the majority stake in Shandong Junjun Cheese, per Bel, gives the international company state-of-the-art manufacturing and innovation opportunities in China, a market in which double-digit annual growth is projected in the next four years. The acquisition gives Bel authorization to operate Shandong Junjun Cheese’s factory.

Bel Group chief executive officer Cécile Béliot said the acquisition allows the company to expand its product portfolio and strengthen its manufacturing footprint.

“Our will to accelerate in new territories is at the heart of our growth strategy, as well as our re-balancing around the dairy, fruit and plant-based segments of healthy snacking,” Béliot said. “We have chosen Shandong Junjun Cheese, a company with huge industrial capabilities and innovation potential. This will enable us to increase our scale on the Chinese market and compete for leadership. We warmly welcome the more than 300 Shandong Junjun Cheese employees to the Bel Group and look forward to successfully developing our position together.”

Located in northeastern China, Shandong Junjun Cheese was founded in 2017, and its plant mostly has served as a co-manufacturer.

The Chinese cheese producer’s founder, Zhao Lu, said partnering with Bel appealed to Shandong Junjun Cheese as being a “win-win,” because the two organizations share similar cultures.

“With over 150 years of experience in cheese, Bel will enable the further development of Shandong Junjun Cheese by strengthening R&D and production capabilities,” he said. “Meanwhile, our company will help accelerate the deployment of Bel branded products in China through its state-of-the-art R&D and production facilities, supported by a strong team of experts and entrepreneurs.”

Over the past 15 years, Bel established a presence in China with cheeses from its Laughing Cow, Kiri and Mini BabyBel brands.