DALLAS — Dean Foods Co. has entered into an agreement to acquire the Alpro division of Vandemoortele N.V., Europe’s largest branded soy beverage and food processor, for €325 million ($450 million). The transaction is expected to be completed in the third quarter.

With its Alpro soya and Provamel brands, Alpro is a processor of branded soy-based beverage and food products with net sales of about €260 million in 2008. Alpro has five manufacturing facilities in Belgium, the United Kingdom, France and The Netherlands, and employs about 750.

"We think this is a great deal that establishes Dean Foods as a clear global leader in the attractive soy beverages and related products category, with over $1 billion in combined annual retail sales," said Gregg Engles, Dean Foods chairman and chief executive officer. "This is one of the most strategic assets we could have acquired. We see significant opportunities to leverage the collective strengths of both businesses across a global soy platform to accelerate growth."

Bernard Deryckere, c.e.o. of Alpro, will report to Joe Scalzo, c.e.o. and president of Dean’s WhiteWave-Morningstar division. Alpro will be run as a separate European business. Dean’s existing revolving credit facility is financing the transaction. It is expected to be modestly accretive to 2009 earnings, excluding transaction-related costs, according to the company.