URC divests from investment in Australia and New Zealand

Published July 30, 2021, 5:59 PM

by James A. Loyola

Universal Robina Corporation is selling its controlling stake in Australian joint venture firm Unisnack ANZ to minority partner Intersnack Group, one of the leading manufacturers of savoury snacks in Europe.

Unisnack ANZ is a leading snacks and biscuits company based in Australia and New Zealand. Intersnack had entered a strategic partnership with URC in December 2019 by acquiring 40 percent of shares in URC Oceania and establishing a new Joint Venture Unisnack ANZ.

In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, URC said Intersnack has announced its intention to acquire the remaining 60 percent of shares of Unisnack and to increase ownership up to 100 percent for an undisclosed sum.

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Unisnack ANZ generated approximately AU$580 million (US$450 million) in 2020 through both its subsidiaries, Snack Brands Australia and Griffin’s Foods.

Snack Brands Australia is one of the leading salty snack manufacturers in Australia with a wide portfolio of strong local brands including Kettle, Thins, Cheezels, CC’s, Natural Chips, Jumpy’s, and Samboy.

Griffin‘s Foods is New Zealand’s largest biscuit manufacturer with a wide portfolio of strong iconic brands including Griffin’s, Huntley & Palmers, and Gingernuts.

It also owns the brands Nice & Natural, Eta, and Uppercuts, which compete in the nutritious snacks and salty category.

“The acquisitions of Griffin’s Foods and Snack Brands Australia were URC’s biggest forays outside of Asia. Over the past 7 years, we have invested in delivering significant operational improvements and value creation programs,” said URC President and CEO Irwin C. Lee.

URC President and CEO Irwin Lee

He added that, “We are pleased to be handing full stewardship of these strong businesses to our partner Intersnack, while we continue to focus on other growth segments and geographies across developing markets.”

“The Intersnack Board is delighted about this opportunity. Unisnack ANZ, its competent management and great commercial performance, is an excellent strategic fit which will strengthen our market coverage in Oceania region and enrich our existing portfolio and innovation pipeline,” said Intersnack Group Executive Chairman Maarten Leerdam.

Unisnack ANZ CEO Paul Musgrave said “This is a fantastic deal for all parties. URC have been rewarded for their support and exit the region with heads held high.”

He noted that, “We have developed strong relationships with Intersnack over the last two years and genuinely look forward to building on this as we continue our journey towards delighting customers across the region.”

Both companies intend to close the deal upon obtaining necessary approvals from the Australian Foreign Investment Review Board and New Zealand Overseas Investment Office.

 
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