Family Values at the Wheel, Emerging Markets on the Horizon
Founded by Italian immigrant Giuseppe Saputo as a cheese making company in 1954, Montreal-based Saputo, Inc. is now one of the top ten dairy companies in the world.
While the company’s significant growth is attributed to a robust acquisition strategy, CEO and Vice Chairman of the Board, Lino A. Saputo, Jr., also highlighted the strong sense of family that contributed to Saputo’s success through the years: “From 1954 to 1997 we relied on strong talent, disciplined principles, and good family values.” Today, Saputo continues to build on these foundations.
A Plan for Success and Succession
By 1997, Saputo’s organic and acquisition growth put the company at CAD 450 million in sales. It was at this time that Saputo management decided to find the right platform to provide more certainty through succession planning and corporate governance.
By going public and taking on an independent Board of Directors, the company is poised to continue to grow its market reach while maintaining the legacy and spirit of the Saputo family. “Today we are publicly traded, but we still have a very strong sense of family. For us, our employees are not numbers. They are what distinguish us from the competition,” explained Saputo.
Since going public in 1997, Saputo has grown to a CAD $11 billion company, both through strategic acquisition and the company’s ability to extract value. “We’re very innovative, creative, and entrepreneurial. Consequently, we can produce a high-quality product at a lower cost than most of our competitors,” shared Saputo. Much of this ability rests with Saputo’s research and product development teams, but the company’s innovative technologies also play a significant role in effective processing methods.
Growing Market Reach
This innovative and entrepreneurial spirit has led to even greater success as Saputo began looking beyond the Canadian market. “We have a history of growing into new and emerging markets. We find ways to navigate well within the confines of any regulatory environment and are consequently able to manage these new platforms quite effectively,” stated Saputo.
“I think it’s important to note that even though we’re a 63-year-old company, we are still nimble, flexible, and learning,” explained Saputo. “There’s no point in being bigger if you’re not going to be better or stronger. And so, for us, we need to make sure that whatever acquisition we do, or whatever growth strategy we employ, it’s going to be making us a better company for the future.”