Hero Group, the Switzerland-based food business behind the Organix snack brand, has sold its UK gluten-free arm Juvela to brand-builder S-Ventures.

The group, which also makes baby food and spreads, said the disposal is part of a long-term strategy to focus on its core categories.

S-Ventures is a London Stock Exchange-listed enterprise company investing in brands across the “natural, wellness and food-tech” markets.

The company has bought Juvela for GBP8m (US$9.9m) and five million new ordinary shares in S-Ventures. The shares represent 3.8% of S-Ventures’ enlarged share capital and will make Hero Group a new shareholder and partner in the UK firm.

Juvela manufactures and distributes branded gluten-free products under its namesake brand, including bread, mixes, cereals and pastas. They are sold in the retail channel and via pharmacists.

The company has been manufacturing gluten-free food for more than 25 years. In the year ended 31 December 2021, it achieved a gross revenue of GBP8.8m.

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By GlobalData

The acquisition includes the Juvela bakery in Pontypool, Wales.

Hero Group CEO Rob Versloot said: “We are very pleased to have found an ideal home where Juvela can grow to its full potential alongside other similar companies. The divestment is part of our company’s long-term strategy and supports the Hero Group’s focus on its core categories of baby and toddler food and snacks, healthy snacks and natural spreads.”

Scott Livingston, the founder and CEO of S-Ventures, added: “We are excited about the opportunity this acquisition brings to drive substantial growth and value for all our shareholders.”

S-Ventures said there are synergies between its existing brands and Juvela, especially with the Frankfrurt-based Lizza business which it acquired in September.

It suggested the UK free-from market also presents a growth opportunity for the company, having grown at a compound annual growth rate of 6.7% between 2019 to 2021 to GBP1.86bn.

In February, S-Ventures acquired UK vegan snacks start-up Livia’s for GBP355,000.