Nestlé is looking to sell New Zealand Manuka honey brand Egmont Honey two years after buying the asset.

When asked why Nestlé wanted to divest the brand, a spokesperson told Just Food that “while Egmont Honey is a premium brand in the industry… the business does not fit within our strategic direction”.  

The company is working with financial advisors Rothschild and investment bankers Cameron Partners to find a new buyer, according to The Australian Financial Review.

Egmont Honey did not respond to a request for comment at the time of writing.

The brand, which sits under the umbrella group The Better Health Company (TBHC), was snapped up nearly two years ago by the KitKat owner for an undisclosed sum.

TBHC’s Go Healthy supplements were also included in the deal, as was an Auckland-headquartered contract manufacturing facility for vitamins, minerals and supplements.

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The business was bought from Chinese asset-management group CDH Investments, and TBHC’s founding investors. CDH had held a majority stake in the company since 2016.

At the time of the acquisition, Jennifer Chappell, CEO of Nestlé’s New Zealand arm said the brands would “strengthen our presence” both nationally and internationally.

Paul Bruhn, head of Nestlé’s Oceania branch also said that both products “complement our global portfolio of active lifestyle and health-and-wellness nutrition brands very well”.

Set up in 2015, Egmont Honey manufactures table Manuka honey, honey-based lollipops and lozenges, as well as flavoured honey spreads such as dulce de leche, creamed honey and rasberry and creamed honey and passionfruit.

The brand exports to retailers globally, including CostCo and Walmart in the US, Holland & Barrett and Ocado in the UK, Aldi in Europe, Coles in Australia, Hyundai in South Korea, Life Pharmacy in the UAE, and Woolworths in New Zealand, among others.

In February, publicly listed Manuka honey supplier Comvita received an  “unsolicited” takeover approach for the business.

The company said yesterday (20 May) the indicative offer came from a “credible offshore party” at a premium to the market share price.

Comvita has formed a board sub-committee to oversee the process and has engaged Goldman Sachs as a financial advisor.

“Comvita has provided the interested party with confidential access to the company and its information in order to undertake due diligence,” chairman Brett Hewlett said.