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CSM bakery axe confirmed: Aim for mid-2013 divestment

By Kacey Culliney , 03-Jul-2012
Last updated on 03-Jul-2012 at 18:12 GMT

CSM will rid its bakery businesses by mid-2013, it was confirmed today
CSM will rid its bakery businesses by mid-2013, it was confirmed today

Ingredients supplier CSM has confirmed its decision to rid its European and US bakery businesses and reposition as a bio-based ingredients company, with plans to divest by the first half of 2013.

The firm announced the intended transformation on 7 May 2012 and today the decision has been confirmed at its extraordinary general shareholders meeting in the Netherlands.

Business efforts will now be dedicated to bio-based ingredients via Purac and Caravan Ingredients.

CSM's bakery brands on the block include: Craigmillar, BakeMark and Baker & Baker

Saskia Nuijten, corporate communications director at CSM, detailed that the bakery businesses being cut represent around two-thirds of CSM’s overall business.

Revenues for these businesses were pegged at more than €2.4bn ($3bn) for 2011.

“We have more or less started the process to solicit interest and we aim at realising all business sales by the first half of 2013,” Nuijten told BakeryandSnacks.com.

CSM is working with Rothschild for support on the divestment and looking for buyers, she said, but has also got designated teams working on necessary steps in this business transformation.

When asked how the divestment will impact employees, she detailed that while CSM cannot give job security, “employees are a critical part of the business…Our intent is that all assets and employees will transfer.”

Dedicated to growth

This significant axe to around two-thirds of CSM’s business will be counterbalanced by increased investments in its bio-based ingredients side, Nuijten said.

“Our aim is to grow the bio-based ingredients business and this will involve looking at selective bolt-on acquisitions and investment in organic growth,” she said.

The extraordinary general shareholders meeting was attended by the CSM supervisory board, the CEO and CFO and all shareholders. The decision was passed with a majority vote, but numbers remain unavailable at this early stage.

“It was not the first time they [shareholders] has heard about this business intention, so there was a general feeling in support of the move at the meeting today,” Nuijten said.

CSM had anticipated a costly future of market consolidation in the bakery arena and said it cannot exploit this as well as bio-based ingredients growth, which prompted this huge business move.

Gerard Hoetmer, CEO of CSM, said that “while Bakery Supplies is a well-run business with excellent market positions, its value and prospects would be enhanced under different ownership.”

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