Sweden’s Humble Group has added to this year’s acquisition spree with a deal for plastic-free chewing gum and confectionery start-up True Gum.

Publicly-listed Humble said a binding agreement has been signed with owners Group 472 to buy the True Gum business for SEK352.4m (US$38.7m). The transaction represents a fixed payment of SEK237.2m, with the remainder linked to “deferred compensation” and future EBITDA earnings for 2022 to 2024.

True Gum’s expected EBITDA earnings were not defined in a statement today (6 December), although Humble provided an outlook for EBITA for next year of SEK22.1m based on sales of SEK133.1m.

Based in the Danish town of Glostrup, near Copenhagen, True Gum is a plant-based business manufacturing gum using the sap from natural rubber trees, and also supplies sugar-free vegan mints and throat drops.

Founded in 2017, the company mainly serves Denmark, Sweden and Germany but is present in 23 different countries “inside and outside Europe”, such as Ireland, the Netherlands and Norway. Stockists include Lidl, Kaufland, Edeka, Spar and Netto.

Jacob Motzfeldt, the CEO and co-founder of True Gum, which employs more than 40 staff, said: “Through Humble’s broad sales and distribution channels we will be able to further grow our market presence internationally and having the opportunity to do that with a partner who shares the same values feels very humbling. It feels very exciting to become a part of the group and continue the work of delivering modern FMCG products to the consumers of the future.”

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The transaction is expected to close in the next 60 days and True Gum’s founders have agreed to stay on for “at least three years”.

One of Humble’s most recent acquisitions was Swecarb, the supplier of the Vitargo sports-nutrition brand, adding to similar deals struck by the group in the same category – Performance R Us, Nordic Sports Nutrition and Viterna.

In confectionery, UK-based Solent Group was added to the portfolio this year, along with sugar-free confectioner Wellibites and Grahns Konfektyr, a maker of reduced-sugar sweets. Humble has also been active outside food, with acquisitions in cosmetics and beauty products.

Humble CEO Simon Petrén said of the True Gum deal: “The team has succeeded in identifying an untapped market space for completely natural, plastic-free chewing gums and has quickly grown to become a market leader within its niche.

“The entrepreneurs behind the company have, through an innovative approach, taken a more than five-thousand-year-old product and adapted it to the customer of today who seeks vegan and plastic-free alternatives.”