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Norwegian conglomerate Orkla has sold its Bakers unit to local retailer and wholesaler NorgesGruppen.

Orkla has been looking to sell Bakers for a year and announced the deal yesterday (17 November) for an undisclosed sum.

Bakers supplies breads to grocery stores in Norway and sells brands including Birkebeiner and Inger’s SuperRug.

Orkla is looking to offload its non-FMCG units and focus on consumer goods through its Orkla Brands unit. However, the company said the Bakers business needed to be operated differently from its other food operations.

“Bakers differs considerably from Orkla Brands’ other branded goods operations. Bakery goods must be fresh each day, which requires a different type of operational and distribution system from our other grocery products,” Orkla Brands CEO Torkild Nordberg said.

Nordberg said Bakers had undergone “significant restructuring” in recent years but remained a “leading bakery enterprise” in Norway. However, Nordberg added: “Structural changes, substantial capacity and keen competition have characterised and will continue to characterise the bakery industry.”

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Nevertheless, NorgesGruppen said the deal for Bakers, which had been a supplier to its stores, would improve its “platform” in bakery.

“This acquisition reinforces our platform and our opportunities to improve our selection of breads, cakes and bakery goods,” NorgesGruppen CEO Tommy Korneliussen said. “We will continue to carry products from other bakeries as well to ensure competition. Bakers will also continue to meet its delivery commitments to existing customers.”

He added: “We will initially familiarise ourselves with the bakeries and establish a dialogue about future challenges.”