Pastry ingredients supplier Unifine put up for sale

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Bakery ingredients supplier Ice cream ingredients Baking

The owners of Unifine Food & Bake Ingredients are seeking a buyer for the pastry ingredients supplier, with Royal Cosun saying it has retained an investment house to conduct a “comprehensive review of all strategic options.”

With production facilities in Belgium, Germany, Hungary, Portugal, France, the Netherlands and Romania, Cosun said that Unifine had “achieved a strong European market position and has shown robust financial performance.”

The division produces and supplies pastry mixes and fillings, cream stabilisers and mousses, fruit fillings, glazes, chocolate, flavourings, fondants, ice cream ingredients, toppings and decorations.

A comment from Cosun as to the rational for the potential sale of Unifine was not forthcoming in time for publication.

According to the company’s financial statement in March this year, Unifine's turnover for 2009 was reduced by lower sales, particularly in countries that were hit hard by the economic headwind, such as Russia and the export to non-euro countries. Nevertheless, added Cosun, Unifine’s “operating profit was improved by a significant cut in costs and by efficiency measures.”

At the outset of 2010, Dutch bakery ingredients supplier CSM predicted more consolidation in the industry with the expected narrower supplier base leading to synergy savings and thus lower costs for the industrial, artisan and in-store baked good sector.

Moreover, following the acquisition of bakery improvers firm Sonneveld by Orkla Food Ingredients in May this year, Maya Donceva, senior industry analyst for food ingredients at Rabobank International, said that she expected a flurry of similar takeovers of the small and medium enterprise (SME) speciality players in the sector.

She told then that as management teams in companies involved in the bakery ingredients sector start to focus on setting up structures that make their businesses more resilient to volatility, SME bakery speciality suppliers in Belgium, Germany and central and eastern European countries, in particular, could become acquisition targets.

“A lot of these smaller players such as Sonneveld and Unifine represent an attractive takeover proposition for the larger supplier companies in that they have global production and R&D facilities as well as a wide distribution network and an interesting product portfolio,”​ said Donceva previously.

The analyst said that consolidation for firms like family owned companies such as Sonneveld can offer opportunities to tap into faster growing niches and markets, to widen portfolios to spread risk, to team up with stronger partners, and to reduce production costs.

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