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Bell Food acquires majority stake in Swiss food company Hugli

FBR Staff Writer Published 16 January 2018

Meat processing company Bell Food Group has acquired a majority stake in Switzerland-based Hügli Group.

Bell Food has also issued a public tender offer to buy out the remaining shares

The company purchased 50.2% stake in Hügli from Dr. A. Stoffel.

The Swiss firm has offered to acquire the remaining shares in Hügli at a price of CHF915 ($949.3) per share, which was the same amount offered to Stoffel Holding for the majority stake.

The proposal has been unanimously backed by the board of directors of Hügli who have recommended the company’s shareholders to accept it.

Hügli board of directors chairman Jean Gérard Villot said: “Hügli remains Hügli. In Bell Food Group, our company has found a new owner that shares the principles of business management that have made Hügli an internationally successful and respected producer and provider in the convenience sector.”

Headquartered in Steinach, Hügli manufactures soups, sauces and meat alternatives. The company had generated revenue of CHF385m ($399.4m) in 2016.

Bell Food plans to use the acquisition to expand its place in the convenience products market significantly and also boost its international footprint in major European markets.

Hügli has a workforce of around 1,500 and operates 10 production facilities in Switzerland and other European countries.

Bell Food said that as the product portfolios and the major customer groups of the two companies are highly complementary and without much overlaps.

Bell Food Group board of directors chairman Hansueli Loosli said: “As well as strengthening our traditional areas of business, the acquisition of Hügli marks an important milestone in our growth strategy in the convenience sector.

“We are proud that Hügli’s founding family has chosen us as the new owner. We believe this combination has great potential to benefit our customers, employees and shareholders.”

Post-acquisition, Bell Food plans to operate Hügli as an independent business unit. The transaction will be subject to approval from European competition authorities.

Recently, Bell Food had completed 100% takeover of fresh convenience specialist Hilcona and salad producer Eisberg.

Image: One of the sites of Hügli Group in Steinach, Switzerland. Photo: courtesy of Hügli Holding AG.