Nomad Foods, the UK-headquartered frozen foods business behind brands such as Birds Eye and Findus, has said it is “actively looking” for suitable acquisition targets.
The company made two acquisitions in 2018, buying frozen pizza assets including the Goodfella’s brand from Boparan Holdings and snapping up UK-based frozen Yorkshire Pudding and roast potatoes maker Aunt Bessie’s from William Jackson Food Group.
In May, when Nomad published its first-quarter results, the company revealed it was sitting on a cash pile of EUR753m (US$852.7m). Speaking at the Deutsche Bank Access Global Consumer conference in Paris this morning (12 June), Nomad’s top executives said the company is planning to use that money for acquisition plays.
Chief executive officer Stefan Descheemaeker said: “The food market is in a transformation stage and there are lots of assets coming up. The idea is not to sit on that cash forever but we will not be rushed. We are actively looking at opportunities in different markets and categories to fuel growth.
“I can’t give you a timing but we are actively working in that field.”
The then Nomad Holdings was formed in 2014 by FMCG veterans Martin Franklin – the founder of consumer goods giant Jarden – and Noam Gottesman, the co-founder of hedge fund GLG Partners, as a vehicle to make acquisitions.
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Twelve months later, that vehicle became Nomad Foods through the purchase of European frozen-food business Iglo Group, a deal swiftly followed with the addition of a clutch of Findus Group assets. The deal-making stopped until the January 2018 purchase of the Goodfella’s-led assets from Boparan.
Descheemaeker, meanwhile, also told the Deutsche Bank conference Nomad is planning to increase its exposure to plant-based products following the recent launch of its Pease range in the Nordic countries and Green Cuisine in the UK.
While admitting plant protein products only make up 1.5% of the company’s sales, Descheemaeker said: “We will accelerate categories like plant protein.”
He added: “It’s something that we have been aware of but there has been an acceleration. We will spend some time behind this category and see what is happening in each country.”