Nestlé’s German meats business Herta is looking to boost its profitability with potential acquisitions in chilled foods.

The company, which has become more focused on higher-margin businesses in recent years, wants to bolster its business with an entry into categories like salads and snacks.

Herta chief Daniel Meile told German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung that the company is in talks with “numerous targets” as it prepares to post a net profit for the first time in “more than 20 years”.

A Nestlé spokesman in Switzerland denied reports that the food giant had been considering selling the Herta business if it failed to generate a profit. “Nestlé had no intention of ever getting out of the high-end business at Herta,” the spokesman told just-food today (11 July).

The spokesman said that since Nestlé bought Herta in 1986 (check), the German company had undergone “quite a bit of upheaval”. Initially, Herta was a fully-integrated meat operation but, over time, the company sold off a slew of assets, including its slaughterhouses.

The spokesman added that Nestlé backed Herta’s ambitions outside of meat. “If the management wants to broaden its offer into other categories, it is a clearly a way out of the dilemma of having the business stuck in commodity areas,” he said.