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July 12, 2019updated 26 Apr 2022 12:55pm

Campbell Soup Co. to sell Denmark snacks business Kelsen to Ferrero

US food giant Campbell Soup Co. is to sell its Denmark-based snack business Kelsen Group to a major international confectioner for US$300m.

By Leonie Barrie

US food giant Campbell Soup Co. is to sell its Denmark-based snack business Kelsen Group to an affiliated company of Italian confectionery heavyweight Ferrero for US$300m.

The deal is expected to be completed in the first quarter of Campbell’s fiscal 2020, which starts next month, the company said in a statement issued today (12 July).

The deal has been done through CTH, a Belgian holding company affiliated to Ferrero.

Campbell said it will use proceeds from the sale to reduce debt.

Based in Nørre Snede, Denmark, Kelsen’s snack brands include Kjeldsens and Royal Dansk. It had net sales of approximately $157m in the latest 12 months and employs around 400 people. Kelsen’s products are sold internationally, including in Asia.

Kelsen is part of a set of international assets, which also includes Australia-based biscuits brand Arnott’s, Campbell has been looking to sell.

Last month, CNBC reported talks with Mondelez International fell apart after the companies failed to reach agreement on a price for assets that include Arnott’s and Kelsen.

At the beginning of this month, Australian private-equity firm Pacific Equity Partners (PEP) was said to have set up a new company to facilitate an acquisition of Campbell’s international business.

The Australian Financial Review said Sydney-based PEP was getting ready to bid for the portfolio but the story was never confirmed by the private-equity firm.

Campbell said today the process to offload the rest of the assets is proceeding.

Mark Clouse, Campbell’s president and CEO, said: “The sale of Kelsen Group supports our strategy to focus on North America where we have iconic brands and strong market positions, while reducing debt. 

“Throughout the divestiture process, we have considered many options for our valuable international assets. Selling Kelsen separately from the rest of our international business generates the greatest possible value for Campbell. We are committed to the divestiture of the remainder of our international operations and will remain disciplined as we move forward.”

The sale of its international division follows a review of assets by Campbell. Earlier this year it completed the disposal of its fresh foods division, which had also been put on the market last year following the review, which concluded the company should concentrate on businesses in North America.

Bolthouse Farms was sold to US-based private-equity firm Butterfly Equity for $510m in April. In February the company sold its Garden Fresh Gourmet unit to an affiliate of Fountain of Health USA.

just-food has approached Ferrero for comment.

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