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Rabobank: World’s ‘Top 20’ dairy companies


Rabobank has published a new report listing the top 20 largest dairy companies in the world, ranked by dairy product turnover (sales).  The report highlights the “who’s who of dairy” as well as the continuing spate of merger and acquisition activity and  tensions between the past and future of the dairy industry.  

The report, authored by Rabobank’s Food & Agribusiness Research and Advisory group, shows Nestlé and Danone at the top of the list, which remains dominated by dairy companies in Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries:  headquarters for 18 of the 20 companies are in the European Union, North America, Japan or New Zealand.  


However, the biggest strides up the rankings this year were made by Chinese giants Yili and Mengniu, riding the wave of domestic market sales growth.  The report says that in fact most of the growth prospects for dairy companies lie beyond OECD boundaries.


The ability of these companies to respond to changing global market dynamics will determine their prospects for survival and success in coming years.  Rabobank expects to see dairy companies continue to vigorously pursue M&A targets in the next 12 months as they jostle to position themselves for growth and profit in a changing market environment.



Top 20 global dairy companies, 2012

Rank Company Country $ U.S. (Billion)
1 Nestlé Switzerland 25.9
2 Danone France 19.5
3 Lactalis France 18.8
4 Fonterra New Zealand 15.7
5 FrieslandCampina Netherlands 13.4
6 Dairy Farmers of America U.S. 13
7 Dean Foods U.S. 11.7
8 Arla Foods Denmark/Sweden 10.3
9 Kraft Foods U.S. 7.7
10 Meiji Japan 7.4
11 Unilever* Netherland/UK 7.2
12 Saputo Canada 6.9
13 DMK Germany 6.4
14 Sodiaal* France 6.1
15 Yili China 5.8
16 Mengniu China 5.8
17 Bongrain France 5.5
18 Muller* Germany 4.6
19 Schreiber Foods* U.S. 4.5
20 Land O’Lakes U.S.



















* Estimate      

Data are for 2011 dairy sales only, based on 2011 financials and M&A transaction completed between Jan. 1 and June 15, 2012; pending acquisitions are not included in the dairy sales are Pfizer’s acquisition of Nestle; IDB Belgium’s acquisition by FrieslandCampina; and Milk Link and Milch-Union Hocheifel’s acquisition of Arla Foods.

Source: Rabobank, 2012