The history of Charalambides Dairies

Company operations began in Ayioi Omoloyites in 1945, led by Takis Charalambides and his son in law, Evris Nicolaides. The two men started the company with one cow at the Charalambides family house; and soon after, they proudly owned ten cows.

Their first customers were the family neighbours, while British nationals made up the vast majority of the clientele when distribution began.

As milk bottles did not exist at the time, old cognac and beer bottles were re-used after being washed, covered in cellophane, and then ‘sealed’ with a rubber band. Later on, when distribution began, milk was sold in special glass milk bottles.

Milk was not pasteurized at that point, going straight from the cow to the bottle, with consumers having to boil it first before consumption. Back then, most households had their own goats for milk, or had a habit of buying condensed sweetened milk.

In 1949, the Charalambides farm grew bigger and moved to Acropolis (a Nicosia suburb) while the Charalambides family home became a dairy factory. Larger premises were built in Acropolis and the number of cows grew.

In 1956, Loukis Charalambides joined the company as a partner, followed by Demetrakis Charalambides in 1957. Following this, the company changed its name to Charalambides Dairy Farm.

1957 was a landmark year for the company as the Acropolis premises transformed into a dairy production facility where the pasteurization process was now put into place. A few years later, the farm moved to Lakatamia (Nicosia suburb).

In 1963, the company began cooperation with the Swedish firm Tetra Pak, which introduced to the Cyprus market the then revolutionary disposable packaging. The packaging was pyramid-shaped and was available in half and a quarter litre. The milk is now pasteurized and homogenised.

On October 16th 1968 the company changed its name to Charalambides Dairies Ltd.

In 1971, Charalambides Dairies was a step ahead of the rest once again, with the introduction of Gable Top packaging (classic paper carton) – as a result of the company’s cooperation with the Norwegian Elopak firm.

In 1971, Charalambides Dairies relocated to its new premises in Lakatamia.

The 1974 war brought the end to the door to door distribution and milk began to be solely distributed to retailers.

On September 10th 2007, Vivartia Greece announced its intention to the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (Cysec) to acquire the total number of shares owned by Christis. Along with the Charalambides takeover, a new company was formed, named Vivartia (Cyprus) Ltd.

By the end of 2011, 90% of Vivartia Cyprus Ltd was acquired by companies of the Constantinos N. Shakolas Group and the family of Alexis and Elena Charalambides. DELTA Greece continues to hold a 10% share in the company.

The history of Christis Dairie

Christis Dairies was founded in 1961, with fresh milk being its only produce at the time. As time passed, the company implemented innovative production methods in its modern facility.

1974 marked a landmark year for the development of the company as it launched a cheese production facility, addressing the great demand for such products. In 1985, Christis moved to a new modern production factory in the area of Agios Athanasios in Lemesos town. It simultaneously continued to develop and expand all production units in accordance with the latest developments in technology and production.

In 1999, a completely new and super-modern unit for cheese produce was put into operation complete with equipment of the latest technology allowing for the production of a larger variety of top quality cheese products.

CHARALAMBIDES CHRISTIS – the new company

The acquisition was the biggest and one of the most important ever made in the food industry in Cyprus in recent years.

The new company-figures

  • Turnover: €100 million (2012 figures)
  • Local sales: €85 million
  • Exports: €17 million in 27 countries worldwide
  • Cooperation with dozens of Cypriot raw material providers, with €7 million worth of annual purchases.
  • 550 employees
  • 40% of turnover comes from fresh milk
  • Cooperation with 38 cow farmers and more than 100 goat and sheep farmers.
  • Annual processing of more than 60 million litres of cow’s milk and 11 million litres of goat’s and sheep’s milk.