Lantmännen to acquire VAASAN Group

Lantmännen announces an agreement to acquire Finnish company VAASAN Group OY (VAASAN), a bakery operator in Northern Europe, currently owned by Lion Capital. Lantmännen Unibake and VAASAN will together enhance their position in the Baltic Sea region and expand their joint offering with several new products and concepts, well in line with Lantmännen’s strategic ambitions.

VAASAN is a leading bakery operator in Finland, as well as a major player in Sweden, Norway and the Baltic region with several well-known brands, including VAASAN´s Finn Crisp and VAASAN brands. The company is the largest thin crisp and the second-largest crisp bread producer in the world, a large player within bake-off in the Nordic countries, and also has a significant presence in the fresh bread segment. In 2013 VAASAN’s net sales amounted to approximately EUR 415 million and the company employed approximately 2,745 people.

Lantmännen already owns approximately 8 percent of the shares in VAASAN and will with this transaction acquire the remaining shares. When all necessary regulatory approvals have been received, VAASAN will become part of Lantmännen Unibake, an international bakery company within the Lantmännen Group and manufacturer of frozen and fresh bread products for both the food service and food retail sectors. The acquisition enhances Lantmännen Unibake’s current offering with several new products and concepts, including an established international position within crisp bread, and it will also expand and develop its presence in the Baltic Sea region.

“The acquisition is well in line with our strategic ambitions to enhance our position in Northern Europe within our international bakery operations in Lantmännen Unibake. VAASAN and Lantmännen Unibake complement each other in many ways and together we can better respond to changing customer needs, expand our product line, and achieve a larger critical mass within product development and innovation to benefit our customers,” says Per Olof Nyman, President and CEO, Lantmännen.

“Through this acquisition we join a leading Nordic company within our own industry and our abilities to serve our customers and consumers will further improve. The acquisition also means increased possibilities for international development and new and exciting opportunities for Lantmännen’s and VAASAN’s employees and leaders. This acquisition means a new phase for both companies,” says Esa Rautalinko, CEO, VAASAN Group.

“The acquisition strengthens our service and delivery and enhances Lantmännen’s and VAASAN’s joint offering with a broad range of products. Together we will have greater market reach and also be able to offer new and innovative products,” says Werner Devinck, CEO Lantmännen Unibake.

The parties have agreed to keep the purchase price confidential. The transaction is subject to normal regulatory reviews and closing is expected in mid-2015.

For further questions, please contact:
Per Olof Nyman, President and CEO, Lantmännen, e-mail: per.olof.nyman@lantmannen.com

Werner Devinck, CEO, Lantmännen Unibake, phone: +4576285100, e-mail: werner.devinck@lantmannen.com

Esa Rautalinko, CEO, VAASAN Group, phone: +358 400 740 997, e-mail: esa.rautalinko@vaasan.com

Mira Perander, Communications Manager, VAASAN Group, +358 50 560 3327, mira.perander@vaasan.com

Lantmännen’s Press Centre, phone: +46 730 46 58 00

  About Lantmännen
Lantmännen is an agricultural cooperative and the Nordic Region´s leader in agriculture, machinery, bioenergy and food products. Owned by 32,000 Swedish farmers, we have more than 8,000 employees, operations in over 20 countries and revenues of SEK 33 billion. With grain as our basis, we process arable land resources for economically viable farming. Some of our best-known food brands are AXA, Kungsörnen, GoGreen, Hatting, Schulstad and Gooh. Our company is founded on knowledge and values built up through generations of owners. Having research, development and operations throughout the value chain means that we can take responsibility together – from field to fork. www.lantmannen.com

About Lantmännen Unibake
Lantmännen Unibake is an international bakery company within the Lantmännen group, with well-known brands such as Schulstad and Hatting. Lantmännen Unibake has sales in 60 markets, bakeries in 11 countries, turnover of more than SEK 7 billion and 3,800 employees. www.lantmannen-unibake.com

About VAASAN
The VAASAN Group is an international frontrunner in the baking industry in the Nordic region and the Baltic countries. VAASAN is also the world’s largest producer of thin crisp and the second-largest producer of crisp bread, a large player within bake-off in the Nordic countries. . The Group had net sales of EUR 415 million in 2013, and employed approximately 2,745 people in Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Sweden, and Norway.  www.vaasan.com

About Lion Capital
Lion Capital is a consumer-focused investor passionate about driving growth through strong brands.  With offices in London and Los Angeles, the firm’s principals have led the investment of approximately EUR 6 billion in more than 30 businesses and more than 100 consumer brands across Europe and North America. Lion’s focus on market-leading consumer-facing companies has led to investments in such well-known brands as Weetabix, the leading British breakfast cereal company; Kettle Foods, a leading producer of all-natural snacking products in the US and the UK; Picard, the leading frozen-food retailer in France with nearly 1,000 shops; Jimmy Choo, the luxury shoe and accessories retailer; and AllSaints, a leading contemporary fashion brand with a global store network. The firm works in partnership with the management of its companies to strategically transform the businesses in which it invests.  www.lioncapital.com

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