Hero buys out Wander's infant food brands

Related tags Baby food

Swiss food group Hero is to buy three baby food brands from
nutritional products maker Wander, expanding its share in baby
foods on its home market.

The deal also rids Wander​, a subsidiary of Associated British Foods, of its baby food division allowing it to concentrate on its better known brands, such as the sports drink Isostar, Jemalt and Ovomaltine, bought from Novartis in 2002 and currently celebrating its centenary year.

Wander, which also makes nutritional supplements and slimming products, employs around 350 people in Switzerland and said it could no longer compete on equal terms with the international firms involved in infant nutrition.

The acquisition of the Galactina, Adapta and Ceralino brands significantly strengthens Hero's national as well as international position in infant feeding. The category currently represents 12 per cent of group turnover - around SF1,386 million in 2002.

In Spain, Hero's infant food business has seen double-digit growth rates in recent years and is now market leader ahead of Nestle and Numico. The company is also seeking to develop new baby markets in North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia.

The company did not disclose financial details of the sale but said it will not change current production or branding of the products and that production would remain in Switzerland.

Hero​, which recently withdrew from the stock market, already owns a number of baby food and infant milk brands. It also claims to be leader in jams and marmelade products in Europe and is active in cereal bars and baking products. Other key markets include Italy, France and the Netherlands.

Meanwhile, Dutch firm Numico announced this week that it had finalised talks on the closure of seven of its 16 baby food manufacturing plants, to be carried out by 2005. The plans, part of a costcutting project announced in July last year, will lead to the loss of 525 jobs.

Savings will be reinvested in innovation, marketing and sales programmes to support the growth of its baby food division and increase margins.

Related topics Suppliers Infant & maternal

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