First joint venture partner found in Africa

Posted: 4 September 2013 | Arla Foods | No comments yet

Ivory Coast will be the first country on the African continent where Arla Foods registers an actual address…

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Ivory Coast will be the first country on the African continent where Arla Foods registers an actual address. From the new address, sachets of Dano® milk powder from the Arla site Akafa in Denmark will be packed and sold in collaboration with a new local partner.

The new partner, Aboubakar Fofana, owns the company Mata Holding in Ivory Coast’s largest city and capital, Abidjan. From here, he distributes goods for other international food brands and also has his own production of buillon powder which is sold in single portion film sachets.

It is in the same type of sachets that milk powder from Arla will be packed on the new mobile packaging station soon to arrive at Arla’s new address in Abidjan (read more about Arla’s mobile packaging station here). The sachets will then be distributed to thousands of shops all over the country.

“Having the right partner is crucial as the shops are very small and scattered across the country. Mata Holding is a strong sales and distribution partner, and Aboubakar has an international mindset from his previous employment in an international company, and he uses several international suppliers. And as he also has production experience, he fits our needs perfectly,” says Rasmus Malmbak Kjeldsen, who is responsible for Arla Foods’ overall business in the Middle East and Africa (MEA).

The new agreement is the first in the pipeline of up to five joint ventures in Africa. The MEA team are continuously working on establishing important strategic bases in the larger African countries of Nigeria and Egypt.

Establishing a new brand is a challenge

Ivory Coast has about 20 million inhabitants and could also serve as a gateway to neighbouring countries such as Ghana, which is of a similar size. So far, Arla has not been represented in Africa with retail products so we still have a lot of work ahead of us attracting attention to the Dano® milk powder label.

“It will be an exciting challenge as Africa is by no means an untapped market when it comes to dairy products. Other big companies such as FrieslandCampina, Nestlé and the regional dairy company Promisador have been major players in Africa for many years,” says Rasmus Malmbak Kjeldsen.

The new joint venture agreement was signed at Arla’s office in Copenhagen in late June.

Facts about the mobile packing station

  • The new mobile packing station which will be erected on Mata Holding’s site, has an annual capacity of 2,000 tons.
  • Initially, no Arla staff will be working from Ivory Coast, but as co-investor Aboubakar Fofana will head the day-to-day operations of the packaging facility. Arla’s Global Packaging Manager, Bent Strandfelt, is responsible for the packing station being inspected every third month – by himself personally or another Arla colleague.

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