2015 proved to be a difficult year for most companies, with the strong U.S. dollar and currency volatility, together with low commodity prices and high turnover. Mergers and acquisitions continued apace, as companies continued to seek additional value from domestic markets and new opportunities elsewhere.
“The big story in this year’s Top 20 list of dairy companies—based on turnover—is the shrinkage of the overall size of the pie,” says Kevin Bellamy, global dairy strategist for Rabobank, New York. “Low dairy commodity prices and currency movements have had a dramatic downward effect on company sales values.”
In U.S. dollar terms, the Top 20 posted combined dairy sales of $194 billion in 2015, down 13% year-over-year. This is indicative of how much the euro has weakened against the U.S. dollar in 2015 that the same collective turnover of the Top 20 improved 4% year-over-year in euro terms.
As growth in China slowed, the world’s largest dairy companies started to look for new horizons to develop. Africa is now definitely on the dairy map. In total, there were 14 deals in Africa, with four more year-to-date in 2016. This compares with only three deals recorded in Africa in the whole of 2014.