Japan’s Suntory is looking to offload some of its Australian assets, with the food and instant coffee business of its Cerebos arm put on the market.
The sale process is tipped to take six to nine months, with well-known local brands such as Saxa, Gravox and Fountain up for grabs.
The decision to pursue an auction comes after a strategic review of the Cerebos Australia and New Zealand arms, which Suntory acquired in 2012.
The group will retain its fresh coffee operation in the region, which includes a position in Toby’s Estate.
“Cerebos’ food and instant coffee business has a number of market-leading brands across Australia and New Zealand,” the local head of Cerebos Terry Svenson said.
“While we have made great progress in recent years, including significant improvements to the efficiency of our manufacturing operations, food and instant coffee are not a core category focus for Suntory and growth opportunities can potentially be maximised under different ownership,” he said.
“Cerebos’ fresh coffee brands are a strong complement to SBF’s existing beverage portfolio globally. SBF remains committed to investing in fresh coffee to capitalise on our market-leading positions to grow the business further.”
Mr Svenson said it would be business as usual for its brands and Sydney manufacturing facility during the auction process.
The sale also includes two of New Zealand’s oldest food brands, Gregg’s and Raro, also owned by Suntory. UBS is serving as Suntory’s adviser on the sale.
The planned sale continues the shake-up of the nation’s food sector. In January dairy company Bega Cheese acquired most of the Australian and New Zealand grocery products, including the Vegemite brand, owned by US-based Mondelez International.
The $460 million purchase of most of Mondelez’s local brands by ASX-listed Bega also included ZoOsh, Bonox and an assortment of Kraft-branded products under licence, including peanut butter, nut spreads, processed cheese slices, cheese spread, mayonnaise, parmesan cheese and Kraft Mac & Cheese.
By Daniel Palmer
Source: The Australian
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