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Wessanen to Acquire Italian Vegetal Drinks Producer

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Wessanen to Acquire Italian Vegetal Drinks Producer

Wessanen to Acquire Italian Vegetal Drinks Producer
December 18
12:30 2014

Wessanen, the Netherlands-based food group, is purchasing Abafoods, a European expert in organic vegetal drinks, for €52 million. Closing is expected to be in January 2015.

Abafoods produces a range of cereal drinks using rice, coconut, almond, oat, spelt and soy. The company has strong R&D capabilities delivering new concepts and innovative packaging. It operates an advanced manufacturing plant at Badia Polesine in Italy and owns and manages around 400 hectares of organic farm land in Italy to partly grow its raw materials.

Over the last few years, Abafoods has recorded strong growth. In 2013, net revenue amounted to €27 million. For 2014, revenue and EBITDA are expected to increase substantially to around €39 million and €6 million, respectively.

Its Isola Bio brand is the leading brand in vegetal drinks in Italian health food stores and is also exported successfully to a wide range of export countries. Next to its own brands, Abafoods currently produces a significant part of non-soy cereal drinks for our Bjorg and Bonneterre brands and it also manufactures for other third parties in Europe. Dairy alternatives & vegetal drinks are a core category in the market for healthy, sustainable and organic food. Category growth rates have been double-digit and are predicted to remain at this level for the years to come. This is driven by an ever-increasing number of people that have to and/or want to avoid dairy products.

Key consumer motivators are lactose intolerance, vegetarian and vegan life styles, general improvement of well-being and health and the desire to make a positive contribution to a healthier planet.

Christophe Barnouin, chief executive of Wessanen, comments: “The acquisition of Abafoods is a major step in the execution of our strategy. Abafoods’ unique expertise in dairy alternatives will strengthen our R&D and production capabilities to fuel the growth of our brands in Europe, as well as Isola Bio, in this core category. It also gives us critical mass in Italy – a large and growing organic market in Europe – with a leading brand position thanks to Isola Bio. Finally, it reinforces our commitment to organic: Abafoods, like Wessanen, are two companies, where we commit to organic food and sustainable farming.”

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