Seamild investment marks Smuckers entry into China

Seamild investment marks Smucker's entry into China

US coffee and jam manufacturer JM Smucker has entered the Chinese market with the acquisition of a minority stake in Chinese oats firm Seamild.

Smucker said today (26 March) it had paid around $35m for a "non-controlling minority interest" in the privately-owned Guilin Seamild Biologic Technology Development Co.

An entry into China has long been spoken about at Smucker. The company told the CAGNY investment conference in 2011 that it was looking at how to break into the market.

CEO Richard Smucker said the deal with Seamild was "an exciting first step" for the US company, which, he said was looking to "develop a meaningful presence" in China.

"Seamild is a family-run business with a strong culture, similar to Smucker in many respects, and is an established leader in the rapidly growing oats category in China. The solid relationship our team has built with the Xie family has provided both parties with the confidence and enthusiasm to enter into this joint venture," he said.

Seamild sells oatmeal under its namesake brand throughout China and runs manufacturing plants in the south of the country. A third facility in northern China is expected to be up and running by the summer.