Blog: Dean BestOetker signals UK retreat

Dean Best | 12 November 2010

The takeover deal for Onken yoghurt looks set to give new owner Emmi the opportunity to build a stronger business in the UK, although for former owner Dr Oetker, it means a scaling back of its operations here.

Yesterday, we reported Emmi's move for Onken and how it appears to be a shrewd move, giving the Swiss dairy giant a platform to build its business in the UK and in Germany, two key international markets for the company.

For Oetker, the deal gives it the chance to focus on chilled desserts in markets like Germany, France and Italy.

However, in the UK, Oetker has decided to quit the chilled desserts business and look squarely at home baking and pizza.

Oetker entered the UK via its acquisition of Onken six years ago but the businesses it took on were focused mainly on yoghurt. With the sale of the Onken brand, the desserts business did not have enough "critical mass" to stay in the UK, the company said.

So, all change for Emmi and Oetker in the UK. For Emmi, the potential for a stronger business - although as we reported yesterday - it will not be easy for the company when faced with competition from the likes of Nestle, Danone and Muller.

For Oetker, a chance to pay more attention to home baking and pizza. Cue furrowed brows from its competitors, particularly in the latter category.

As we saw on Tuesday (9 November), Oetker pizza rival Northern Foods is struggling to warm sales of its own frozen pizza brand Goodfella's.



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