URC buying Australian snack food firm for $460 M

MANILA, Philippines – Universal Robina Corp. (URC) is set to acquire Consolidated Snacks Pty Ltd. (CSPL) of Australia for roughly $460 million as part of efforts to create a wider footprint in Oceania and the highly competitive Australian food and retailing market.
The two parties signed an agreement under which URC, through its wholly owned offshore subsidiary URC International Co. Ltd., will acquire 100 percent of CSPL.

URC said the transaction has been approved by the board of directors of both companies and is expected to close by Sept. 30, 2016.
Consolidated Snacks trades under the company name Snackbrands Australia (SBA), one of the country’s leading snackfoods company and the second largest player in salty snacks with a total market share of close to 30 percent.

With its wide portfolio of chips including iconic brands like Kettles, Thins, CC’s and Cheezels, the company is the preferred private label supplier and partner of major Australian retailers.
Given continuous efforts of innovation, customer focus and operational efficiency, SBA has grown topline at a compounded annual growth rate of 7.4 percent in the past four years while its EBITDA has risen by 32.6 percent over the same time frame.

Lance Gokongwei, CEO of URC, said the addition of SBA into the URC organization would further enhance the innovation capability of the company and reinforce its thrust on premiumization given emerging global consumer trends on indulgence, health, wellness and nutrition.

“URC in the past three years has started to look for strategic options on acquisitions or partnerships given the emerging competitive challenges being brought upon by the lifting of trade barriers and the attractiveness of the region where we operate. While we continue to push for innovation as an anchor to sustain our growth, the opportunity came at the right time to acquire a company like Snackbrands,” he said.
Gokongwei said both URC and SBA are leading organizations with well-known and loved brands, operationally efficient and driven by a strong management team.
The acquisition is also seen as “completely synergistic with URC and Griffin’s, New Zealand’s number snackfoods company that was acquired by the Gokongweis in November 2014.
SBA chief executive Paul Musgrave, for his part, said he was looking forward to “sharing learnings, innovation and technology opportunities with the broader URC business.”
“As our business has grown we have begun to turn our eyes to new markets and new product segments to be able to leverage our portfolio of much loved brands. It was clear that a regional partnership would accelerate our plans in both these areas and the approach by URC could not have been better timed,” Musgrave said.
“We will look to leverage our new relationship to further grow our home market whilst accelerating our export potential…In particular we are excited to be able to work closely with Griffins in NZ to unlock the full potential of their brands and products in Australia,” he added.

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