The Hain Celestial Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: HAIN), the leading natural and organic food company, today announced that it had acquired privately held Fruit Chips B.V., a manufacturer of low-fat chips based in The Netherlands. The transaction is expected to be immediately accretive to Hain’s earnings per share.
Fruit Chips currently manufactures fruit, vegetable and potato chips under the Gaston’s brand name, and also produces similar products under private label brands for customers including Marks & Spencer and Knorr. These products are vacuum fried, resulting in a lower fat content than conventionally fried chips. With approximately 25 employees, Fruit Chips operates a 90,000 square foot facility in the Netherlands.
Irwin D. Simon, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Hain Celestial Group said, “This acquisition is an exciting opportunity for the Hain Celestial Group, as we realize our commitment to introduce our great brands into Europe. Last year, working with our strategic partner H.J. Heinz, we launched Westsoy soy beverages in the U.K. Now, we will be able to take advantage of Fruit Chips’ strengths — its superior management team, excellent unique equipment, and ongoing relationships with customers — to grow its existing chip business, to expand and grow distribution of our popular Terra Chips in Europe and to leverage some of the competitive advantages to benefit production of Terra in the U.S. In addition, we expect to continue capitalizing on our relationship with Heinz in Europe.”
Under the terms of the transaction, which were approved unanimously by Hain Celestial’s Board of Directors, the current owners of Fruit Chips B.V. will receive $2.5 million in cash and $3.5 million payable in shares of Hain Celestial common stock in exchange for all of the outstanding capital stock of Fruit Chips B.V. Hain Celestial will also assume net debt of $2.3 million. In addition, Hain Celestial is pleased to announce that Mr. Martin Van Der Doe, the founder of Fruit Chips, B.V., will continue in his role as Managing Director of Fruit Chips B.V., working to expand distribution of its snack business as well as some of Hain Celestial’s other products in Europe.
Mr. Simon remarked, “Martin Van Der Doe is an excellent addition to Hain Celestial’s management team. He has built Fruit Chips into a successful enterprise, has an invaluable depth of experience and knowledge about the snack and natural foods categories, and great existing relationships with major customers in several European countries. Martin is the right person to manage and grow our snack business in Europe.”
Upon completion of the acquisition, Fruit Chips also entered into a Joint Venture with the largest snack company in Spain, Grupo Siro, which will enable Hain Celestial to benefit immediately from the Spanish and Portuguese markets. Grupo Siro is a privately held manufacturer and distributor of chips, crackers, cookies and pastas and has five (5) plants in Spain with total sales volume of more than $180 million. This Joint Venture provides a licensing agreement for the production of snacks utilizing Fruit Chips’ unique frying system for snacks in Spain and Portugal.
About The Hain Celestial Group
The Hain Celestial Group, headquartered in Uniondale, NY, is a natural, specialty and snack food company. The Company is a leader in 13 of the top 15 natural food categories, with such well-known natural food brands as Celestial Seasonings (R) teas, Hain Pure Foods®, Westbrae®, Westsoy®, Arrowhead Mills®, Health Valley®, Breadshop’s®, Casbah®, Garden of Eatin®, Terra Chips®, DeBoles®, Earth’s Best®, and Nile Spice. The Company’s principal specialty product lines include Hollywood® cooking oils, Estee® sugar-free products, Weight Watchers® dry and refrigerated products, Kineret® kosher foods, Boston Better Snacks®, and Alba Foods®. The Hain Celestial Group’s website can be found at http://www.hain-celestial.com.
Statements made in this Press Release that are estimates of past or future performance are based on a number of factors, some of which are outside of the Company’s control. Statements made in this Press Release that state the intentions, beliefs, expectations or predictions of The Hain Celestial Group and its management for the future are forward-looking statements. It is important to note that actual results could differ materially from those projected in such forward-looking statements. Information concerning factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in forward-looking statements is contained from time to time in filings of The Hain Celestial Group with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Copies of these filings may be obtained by contacting The Hain Celestial Group or the SEC.