ITALY: Watchdog to probe Mondelez's disposal of Simmenthal canned meat
Mondelez forerunner Kraft Foods agreed to sell Simmenthal last month
Italian competition authorities are to probe Mondelez International's sale of canned meat brand Simmenthal to FMCG giant Bolton Group.
The country's anti-trust watchdog is to look into whether the deal will lead to a "substantial and lasting reduction of competition", particularly in the production and marketing of preserved beef.
The deal could lead to "increased bargaining power" for Bolton, which also owns the Manzotin canned meat brand, the competition authority said. It added the price of the two brands and other canned meat products could rise.
Asked whether Mondelez was concerned whether the deal will not go through, a spokesperson said: "Simmenthal is an ‘ongoing transaction’ so it wouldn’t be appropriate for me to comment on details of the deal."
Kraft Foods, the forerunner to Mondelez, agreed to sell Simmenthal to Italy-based Bolton Group last month.
It was the second deal for European food brand Kraft had struck in two months. In August, it agreed to sell the Miracoli noodle brand to Mars Inc.
The two transactions came as Kraft was preparing to spin off its global snacks business, which includes Cadbury chocolate, as a new company, Mondelez International.
Mondelez, which has a portfolio that also includes Lu biscuits, Trident gum and Milka chocolate, has welcomed a new arrival into its stable in recent weeks. Earlier this month, it emerged it had acquired the Vitasnella snack business in Italy from Danone.
On Friday, Bloomberg reported Mondelez may sell off products as it reviews its business after the spin off, quoting the head of its European business Tim Cofer.
Speaking to just-food today, a Mondelez spokesperson clarified Cofer's comments. "Tim Cofer did say that we continually review our portfolio but he also said that we are excited about the portfolio as it currently stands, and do not see a need to make any changes to achieve our long-term growth. Of course we’ll continue to review opportunities as they arise and to review our portfolio to determine each brand’s or product’s overall fit."
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