URC says acquisition will expand its reach in Oceania

URC says acquisition will expand its reach in Oceania

Philippines-based food and beverage group Universal Robina Corp. (URC) said today (17 August) it plans to buy Consolidated Snacks Pty Ltd, the company behind Snack Brands Australia, for AUD600m (US$458m).

URC, which owns New Zealand biscuit maker Griffin's, said in an announcement to the Philippines Stock Exchange it will buy 100% of Consolidated from Toccata Securities Pty Ltd and Hopkins Securities Pty Ltd.

The deal is subject to clearance by the Australian Foreign Investment Review Board. URC said it will give the group "a wider footprint in the Oceania region with SBA providing a solid anchor in the highly competitive Australian fast moving consumer goods and retailing market". 

The move will build on synergies in the region following URC's acquisition in 2014 of Griffin's, the group said.

Consolidated is one of Australia's snack food companies, URC said. "SBA is the second largest player in salty snacks with a total market share of close to 30% and has a wide portfolio of chips including iconic brands like Kettles, Thins, CC's and Cheezels."

URC said Consolidated is also a private-label supplier and partner for Australian retailers. "With continuous efforts of innovation, customer focus and operational efficiency, SBA has grown topline at a compound annual growth rate of 7.4% in the past four years while EBITDA has grown 32.6% over the same time frame."

Last week, URC outlined plans including the rationalisation of its "route-to-market and distribution strategy" in the Philippines and Australia and said it had plans to "progressively launch" the Griffin's brand in markets in the ASEAN region.

The company also cut its forecasts for annual sales and operating profit after claims of lead in some of the company's drinks products in Vietnam hit its overseas revenues.