Oak State makes crackers, biscuits and bars

Oak State makes crackers, biscuits and bars

Hearthside Food Solutions, the US contract manufacturer of bars and baked goods, has snapped up local bar, biscuit and cracker maker Oak State Products.

The deal was struck for an undisclosed sum. Hearthside, part-owned by Goldman Sachs, said the deal would help it meet increased demand for contract manufacturing. Both Hearthside and Oak State are contact manufacturers.

Oak State, based in Wenona in Illinois has one production facility, taking the Hearthside network to 24 plants.

"Oak State represents an opportunity to add instant capacity to our network. Their flexible production lines complement our existing large scale lines, creating additional options for our customers," Rich Scalise, Hearthside's founder and chairman, said. "We see synergies in operations, cultures and customers. Most importantly, Oak State is already a mature, well-run operation. We anticipate a smooth and rapid integration."

Dwayne Hughes, senior vice president of supply chain at Hearthside, added: "This is a functioning operation with an active customer base. It would take two years or more to accomplish this with a greenfield option."

Last August, Hearthside struck a deal to buy Netherlands-based nutrition bar maker VSI from Dutch private-equity firm NPM Capital.

Goldman Sachs and US private-equity firm Vestar Capital Partners bought Hearthside in 2014.