Dutch potato business Aviko has acquired a plant in Germany from consumer goods giant Unilever through a deal that also includes a strategic partnership.
Located in Stavenhagen, a municipality in Mecklenburgische Seenplatte district, north-east Germany, the site serves the retail and foodservice channels, as well as supplying food manufacturers, and employs 210 people.
The purchase has been initiated through the Dutch firm’s Aviko Rixona business unit, with no financial terms disclosed. Aviko, which is owned by the Dutch agricultural co-operative Royal Cosun, said the acquisition is expected to be completed before the end of the year, as long as the competition authorities in Germany have no objections.
Aviko said the Stavenhagen plant processes potatoes into branded products such as mash, dumplings, gnocchi and instant snacks, and products for Unilever’s production units, including the brands Knorr and Pfanni. Acquiring the facility will also support Aviko Rixona’s growth in its key ingredients products of potato granules and flakes.
As a group, Aviko manufactures frozen potato products such as fries, mash potato and gratins supplied into retail and foodservice, as well as hash browns and appetisers to the out-of-home segment.
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Aviko CEO Chris Deen, who joined the business in January, said: “Total worldwide demand for potato granules and flakes is constantly increasing and is partly driven by strong growth in the demand for salty snacks on all five continents. The additional volume and extra sales will further strengthen our position and support our ambitious growth trajectory.”
Unilever said Aviko Rixona will become a long-term supplier for its potato products and snack pots.
“The aim of the partnership is to create synergies driven by scale and technology and to manufacture the best potato products,” the Anglo-Dutch giant said in a statement. “Unilever is confident that this partnership will drive portfolio development and category innovation…. [and] gives the production site in Stavenhagen real growth perspectives.”
Unilever confirmed the Pfanni brand is only distributed in Germany and Austria and will remain in the company’s hands, along with other lines such as Knorr and Unox produced at the facility.