July 30, 2015


'Shakeup' in ranking of top dairy firms, but Nestlé remains on top


By Rick Alberto



There has been a "shakeup" in the ranking of the world's top dairy companies this year, the latest annual Rabobank Global Dairy Top 20 survey showed.


Swiss firm Nestlé, with a turnover of US$27.8 billion in 2014, retained its top position, but French firm Lactalis (with turnover of $19.5 billion or EUR 14.7 billion) edged another French company, Danone ($19.5 billion or EUR14.6 billion), out of the second position for the first time. Lactalis was third last year. Turnover pertains to dairy sales only, based on 2014 financial and M&A (merger-and-acquisition) transactions completed between January 1 and June 15, 2015.


New Zealand's Fonterra ($18.5 billion) remained at No. 4 position, while Dairy Farmers of America ($17.9 billion) pushed into the top five from No. 6 last year, according to the survey.


Erstwhile No. 5 FrieslandCampina ($14.8 billion), which is based in the Netherlands, dropped to No. 6 while Arla Foods of Denmark/Sweden ($13.6 billion) remained at No. 7 position.


Rounding out the top 10 are Canada's Saputo ($9.8 billion turnover), the US' Dean Foods ($9 billion) and China's infant formula marker Yili ($8.6 billion). All three had the same positions last year, when Yili entered the top 10 for the first time.


Occupying the 11th to 20th positions in the 2015 ranking are:


-- Mengniu of China (with dairy turnover of $8.1 billion); it jumped three notches from 14th place last year

-- Unilever of Netherlands/UK (estimated sales turnover of $7.7 billion); it dropped from No. 11 last year

-- Sodiaal of France ($7.2 billion); jumped two places from No. 15

-- DMK of Germany ($7.1 billion); dropped from No. 13

-- Savencia, formerly Bongrain ($6.1 billion); jumped from No. 16

-- Kraft Foods of USA ($6 billion); jumped from No. 17

-- Meiji of Japan ($5.6 billion); dropped five places from No. 12

-- Schreiber Foods of USA (estimated $5.6 billion); jumped from No. 19

-- Land O'Lakes of USA ($5.1 billion); first time to land in the top 20

-- Muller of Germany (estimated $5.1 billion); dropped two places from No. 18    


Bowing out from the top 20 places was Morinaga of Japan, which was No. 20 last year.


"While the names of the world's 20 largest dairy companies will be familiar to industry followers, the order saw something of a shakeup compared to 12 months prior", said Rabobank Global Dairy Strategist Tim Hunt.


The report said the new rankings were affected by currency shifts which highlighted the deterioration of economic growth and near-term growth prospects of dairy in many emerging markets.


Rabobank also said that faced with slowing growth at home, Chinese companies may need to harness the Chinese people's improved spending power if they are to continue to rise up the ranks at the pace they have achieved over the last decade.

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