Sayenko Kharenko has acted as legal counsel to Bel Group with respect to the completion of the disposal of its entire shareholding in PrJSC “Bel Shostka Ukraine” (“Bel Shostka”) to Lactalis. The transfer took place as a part of a larger transaction under which Bel Group disposed of its business in the Netherlands (Royal Bel Leerdammer B.V.), Italy (Bel Italia S.p.A), Germany (Bel Deutschland GmbH), Ukraine (Bel Shostka) in exchange for 23.16 per cent of Bel shares owned by Lactalis (the “Transaction“). Previously Sayenko Kharenko advised Bel Group on various Ukrainian law matters pertaining to this Transaction, which contributed to Bel and Lactalis commencing exclusive negotiations on 19 March 2021.

Sayenko Kharenko provided full-scope sell-side legal support for the completion of the Ukrainian part of the Transaction, including advising on various corporate law matters, opening securities accounts with a custodian, dismissal of officers and transfer of shares of Bel Shostka to Lactalis. Previously the firm advised Bel Group on complex corporate and tax law matters, structuring of the Ukrainian part of the Transaction and obtaining merger clearance from the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine.

Linklaters (Paris) acted as Bel’s global counsel, while Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Paris) represented Lactalis. BNP Paribas, Perella Weinberg Partners and Oppenheimer acted as Bel’s global financial advisors.

Bel Group Chairman and CEO Antoine Fievet commented: “I am delighted about the success of this transaction. For a start, it opens new doors for both the Shostka and Leerdammer brands, and I want to thank all their staff and wish them all the best for the future because they have built the brands’ success over the last 20 years. This is a new step for us, underpinning our independent family business model, a key factor in our success from our company’s very beginnings. Now we can put all our weight behind rolling out our strategy with a well-balanced dairy, fruit and plant-based offering, in line with our corporate mission to champion healthier and responsible food for all.”

Bel Group is the world leader in branded cheese and a major player in the healthy snack market. Its portfolio of internationally recognised brands includes such trademarks as The Laughing Cow®, Kiri®, Mini Babybel®, Boursin®, as well as around 20 local brands (including Shostka®), which together helped Bel Group to generate sales of EUR 3.46 billion in 2020.

Lactalis Group is the world’s No. 1 dairy products supplier and a French family business founded in 1933 in Laval. Lactalis is known for such brands as PreĢsident, Galbani and Parmalat.

Sayenko Kharenko’s corporate and M&A team working on the Transaction was co-led by senior associate Ilhar Hakhramanov and associate Mykola Lykhoglyad with significant support from associates Zarina Khalimon, Konstantin Zablotskyi and junior associate Nazarii Pylypchuk under the general supervision of partner Oleksandr Nikolaichyk.