MANILA, Philippines – Gokongwei-led Universal Robina Corporation (URC) will acquire New Zealand’s leading snack food company, a move that will strengthen its position in the regional snack food and beverage industry.
In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) on Monday, July 21, the Gokongwei-owned company said it would acquire NZ Snack Foods Holdings Limited for NZ$700 million ($609.46 million*).
NZ Snack Foods is the holding company of Griffin’s, New Zealand’s leading biscuit and snack food maker. It is owned by Pacific Equity Partners, an Australian private equity fund manager.
The PSE suspended trading of URC shares pending submission of additional information on the transaction.
URC president and chief executive Lance Gokongwei said in a statement that Griffin’s was a natural strategic fit to their existing snack food portfolio.
“… While we have already built very strong brands, our strategy is to continue offering our existing consumers and markets in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Greater China regions with innovative, convenient, lifestyle-focused, and on-the-go products,” he said.
Boosting URC’s snack portfolio
URC plans to introduce Griffin’s Biscuits, ETA Salty Snacks, and Nice & Natural Wrapped Snacks to its markets in Asia, Gokongwei said.
“We believe Griffin’s is at the forefront of global consumer trends in snacking, including: indulgence; a sense of play and excitement; using natural ingredients; ensuring traceability of source; and providing healthy alternatives. We are very excited to introduce and grow these brands in Asia,” he added.
NZ Snack Foods was founded by John Griffin in 1864 and has always had an iconic presence in New Zealand.
It manufactures and markets an outstanding portfolio of high-quality branded products, including biscuits, crackers, nutritious snack bars, and savory snacks. It is the market leader in the biscuit category in New Zealand and one of the most recognized brands in the country.
Griffin’s also enjoys a growing presence in Australia, with its Nice & Natural range of nutritious snacks. The company currently sells its brands to more than 20 countries.
URC’s significant experience in developing its own export markets makes it the ideal partner, Griffin’s executive chairman Ron Vela said.
Like Griffin’s, URC is a leading branded food company that started as a small, family-owned business and has expanded its markets offshore to become one of the largest food and beverage companies in the region. It has operations in ASEAN countries, including Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, and China. – Rappler.com
(*$1 = P43.44)