Saputo Inc., Montréal, said it entered into an agreement to acquire the specialty cheese business of Lion-Dairy & Drinks, Sydney, Australia. The specialty cheese business is conducted at two manufacturing facilities located in Burnie and King Island, Tasmania (Australia) and employs approximately 400 people.

The purchase price of AUD$280.0 million (approximately CDN$265.0 million), on a cash-free and debt-free basis, will be paid in cash at closing from cash on hand and available credit facilities, Saputo said.

The specialty cheese business produces, markets and distributes a variety of specialty cheeses under a wide portfolio of Australian brands, including South Cape, Tasmanian Heritage, Mersey Valley and King Island Dairy. For the 12-month period ending on Dec. 31, 2018, the business generated revenues of approximately AUD$192 million (CDN$182 million), Saputo said.

The specialty cheese business will enable Saputo’s Dairy Division (Australia) to further diversify its product offering, adding to and complementing its current activities. The transaction is subject to foreign investment approval and clearance by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, and is expected to close in the second half of calendar year 2019.