United Biscuits (UB) has for the first time hinted that the company will be sold as it separates its snacks business as KP Snacks and Kraft UK president Nick Bunker takes the helm.
Speaking to BakeryAndSnacks.com, Keren McCarron, corporate communication manager at UB said: “United Biscuits will be sold at some point.”
“We do acknowledge that the division [of the snacks business] is likely to increase sales options for our owners.”
She gave no indication whether UB would be sold as a whole or as separate snacks and biscuits businesses.
Split ahead of sale?
UB is owned by the Blackstone Group LP and PAI Partners. In March this year, the owners reportedly lined-up Credit Suisse to separate its salty snacks business ahead of a £500m sale, according to industry sources cited by the Financial Times.
Mintel Marcia Mogelonsky previously speculated that the UB would split could be in order to facilitate a sale.
UB has previously denied these reports to BakeryAndSnacks.com, but know claims UB will be sold.
Blackstone Group LP and PAI Partners failed in a bid to sell its joint biscuit and salty snacks business for £2bn to Chinese firm Bright Foods in 2010.
Mogelonsky told this site after earlier split rumours in December last year that Kraft, PepsiCo or a large Asian company may move for UB
“I still think that the biscuits business is likely to go to an Asian company, the smaller salty snack and nuts business may well stay in the UK or Europe,” she said earlier.
The unnamed source in the Financial Times said that the larger biscuits part of the company, which includes McVities, would not be up for sale until 2013.
KP Snacks brand portfolio
UB claims its new snacks business KP Snacks will be the second largest bagged snack company in the UK.
McCarron said the split had been in effect since April, but had not been widely communicated.
KP Snacks will be home to brands including McCoy’s, Skips and Hula Hoops.
Products will be manufactured in four factories in the UK, employing around 1,500 people.
The new CEO
Nick Bunker, who had been running Kraft/Cadbury in the UK and Ireland for the past four years, has been appointed CEO of KP Snacks.
Bunker previously worked at Mars Confectionery and also had a spell at United Biscuits in its international division.
He joined Kraft in 2000 and led Kraft businesses in Czech Republic, Slovakia and the Middle East. Bunker also serves as chair of the Food and Drink Federation’s Sustainability Steering Group.
McCarron said that Bunker had not been brought in to sell the business, but rather to help it grow.