Hochdorf continues to whittle down assets

Hochdorf continues to whittle down assets

Hochdorf plans to terminate a number of subsidiaries that do not fit with the Swiss firm's newly-launched strategy to focus on infant formula and dairy ingredients, adding to a host of asset disposals to date.

The company used the word "liquidate" to describe its plans for the dried fruit and vegetables unit, Zifru Trockenprodukte in Germany, and snacks business Snapz Foods in the US and Germany. 

In a statement today (6 May), Hochdorf said it had attempted to find buyers for the businesses, but despite "considerable efforts" failed to secure any interest, and will therefore enter a "dissolution procedure" for the three subsidiaries.

Hochdorf added that Zifru was not expected to turn a profit. 

Meanwhile, Hochdorf plans to retain another subsidiary, vegetable-oil unit Marbacher Ölmühle in Germany. While that business had also been put on the market but without finding a buyer, Hochdorf said it is undergoing a restructuring process, described as a "slightly positive result." Also, Marbacher Ölmühle will be developed "through specific investments".

Hochdorf launched a business review in May last year to try and turnaround the loss-making group with a new focus, and has taken a number of actions. In July it had already flagged that Zifru, Snapz and Marbacher Ölmühle were under review. 

Late in 2019, the company sold its 51% stake in what was then a baby-food subsidiary Pharmalys, adding to the disposal of a majority stake in Hochdorf South Africa and its cereal and ingredients (outside dairy) businesses.

And this February, Hochdorf sold its 60% holding in German infant-formula manufacturer Uckermärker Milch as the company sought to focus production on Switzerland for the company as a whole.