Universal Robina Corp. is widening its Asia-Pacific presence with the acquisition of Auckland-based Griffin’s Foods Ltd., New Zealand’s leading snack food manufacturer, for about NZ$700 million (US$608 million).
URC told the Philippine Stock Exchange on Monday that it had agreed to acquire through a wholly owned offshore subsidiary a 100-per cent direct stake in NZ Snack Food Holdings Ltd., the holding company of Griffin’s Foods, from management and funds advised by Pacific Equity Partners.
Griffin’s was described as the No. 1 snack food company in New Zealand with the leading market share in biscuits (where it has a large portfolio of iconic brands), the second largest market share in salty snacks (ETA brand) and the leading share in wrapped snacks (Nice & Natural brand).
Based in Auckland, Griffin’s has two manufacturing facilities producing a variety of snack products and a 150-year heritage. It generates about NZ$280 million ($235 million) in annual net sales and cash flow based on earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation of NZ$78 million ($67.8 million).
The company is also a major player and supplier of retailer branded products under the same categories for major accounts in New Zealand and Australia and is fast expanding its exports business in Asia.
The PSE, for its part, suspended trading on URC on Monday pending the submission of a comprehensive disclosure. The local bourse invoked the rule on disclosure of substantial acquisitions and reverse takeovers of listed firms.
URC has agreed to pay an initial NZ$100 million and the balance will be paid on completion, during which the final amount will be calculated.
Completion of the transaction is expected once the parties obtain approval for the transfer of shares granted under the Overseas Investment Act 2005 (New Zealand) and the Overseas Investment Regulations 2005 (New Zealand), or such other date as the parties may agree.
URC International will fund the transaction from long-term debt financing and internal sources, the disclosure said.
Doris C. Dumlao
Business & Investment Opportunities
Saigon Business Corporation Pte Ltd (SBC) is incorporated in Singapore since 1994.