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May 14, 2020updated 28 Nov 2022 3:32pm

Bakery business Aryzta hires Rothschild to review strategic options

Aryzta said it has hired an investment bank to conduct a review of all the Swiss-Irish bakery group's "strategic and financial options".

By Dean Best

Aryzta said it hired investment bank Rothschild & Co. in April to conduct a review of all the Swiss-Irish bakery group’s “strategic and financial options” amid renewed pressure from investors to refine the business model.

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The dual-listed company said yesterday evening (13 May) the review, set to be completed by the end of July, would aim to “maximise value for the benefit of all of the group’s stakeholders”, as it simultaneously confirmed Cobas Asset Management of Spain and Swiss-based fund Veraison had formed a “shareholder group” holding 17.32% of voting rights in the business.

Before these latest developments, Cobas was regarded as the firm’s largest shareholder. Back in 2018, the year the bakery business completed a EUR800m (US$870m) capital-raising exercise to bolster its capital structure and cut billions of euros of debt, it was said to hold a stake of more than 14%.

In a joint statement sent to just-food yesterday, Cobas and Veraison said the “shareholder group believes that Aryzta should focus more strongly and that the complexity of the group must be significantly reduced.

“Trust in Aryzta must be rebuilt. Only in this way can Aryzta create value for all stakeholders again,” it said.

Under chief executive Kevin Toland, Aryzta has already downsized, selling off a number of non-core assets most recently the disposal of its UK-based foodservice business Delice de France and most of its stake in French frozen food manufacturer Picard, which had been planned for divestment for some time.

Aryzta has another foodservice business, Coup de Pates, which supplies tarts, muffins, baguettes, sandwiches and quiche, and also includes the La Carte d’Hubert range of poultry, meats, cold cuts, seafood, entrées, garnishes and cheeses.

It also owns Cuisine de France, which produces French breads and pastries, and the Otis Spunkmeyer bakery brand, consisting of cookies, muffins, cookie dough and pastries. La Brea Bakery, which makes breads, flatbreads and rolls, completes the line-up.

Aryzta has struggled financially for a number of years, particularly in North America, which still remains an issue, and has been a market that investors have previously pushed management to exit to focus on its core European operations. It also conducts business in South America, Asia, Australia and New Zealand.

In March, as the company reported results for the six months through January, Aryzta said its North America division was “significantly behind” in terms of EBITDA, while organic revenues and volumes fell in that market and Europe too.

And in an update last week, Aryzta said it had taken “immediate and decisive action to maximise cash and reduce costs”, and had accrued “savings versus plan” of EUR50m. It said the company currently holds liquidity of more than EUR385m, up from EUR360m on 24 March.

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Unilever product advertising is mainly through mainstream TV channels. Out of the products advertised so far at least 50% (over 850) of ads have been run on TV, while print media comes second with 496 ads. Unilever also utilizes social media platforms for advertisement. Unilever products are categorized by innovation ratings and tags in our product launch database. The North American region consists of almost 74 products with innovations related to the formulation of the product. Europe and other regions also have more products categorized under formulation-related innovation, followed by the packaging and positioning of the products. Most Unilever products are tagged with “High Vitamins”, “Recyclable”, and “Natural” tags to understand what the product differentiator is from other products available in the market. The majority of products belong to the personal care industry with a total of 5,788 products to date. This report, through the Unilever Example, illustrates how GlobalData Explorer enables you to:  
  • Track product launches by FMCG companies to get an understanding of the product-level strategies including geographic concentrations, innovation types, product claim, category focus and more
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Don’t miss out on key market insights that can help optimize your next investment – read the report now.
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