IAWS extends European presence

Related tags Hiestand Baking

IAWS, the Irish company behind the Cuisine de France and La Brea
baked goods chains, has taken a strategic stake in Swiss
counterpart Hiestand.

IAWS​, the Irish producer of French bread and confectionery products, has significantly extended its European presence with the acquisition of a 22 per cent stake in Switzerland's Hiestand​ group for €26 million.

Hiestand manufactures and distributes frozen bakery goods to the retail and foodservice markets - a business which complements that of IAWS - but the big gain for the Irish company will be Hiestand's operations in countries such as Switzerland, Germany, Poland, Austria, the Asia Pacific region and Japan, where IAWS has little or no presence.

The Swiss group is also renowned for its research and new product development facilities, from which IAWS will clearly benefit. The Irish group said that Hiestand owed its position as the leading European manufacturer and distributor of frozen bakery goods for the convenience food sector to the efforts of its R&D team.

IAWS managing director Philip Lynch said: "This investment is consistent with our strategic direction to make investments in the high growth convenience food market. We will now have a presence in developing markets where we have had no presence up to now. Hiestand has core values that are similar to ours. We are both focused on premier consumer brands that provide consistent, high quality food to customers in fast-growing sectors of the economy."

He added: "By clearly responding in a very focused way to the needs of retailers and consumers, Cuisine de France and La Brea [IAWS brands] have brought a totally new approach to the baking industry. In a short space of time Cuisine de France and La Brea have established themselves as leading brands in the food sector in Ireland, the UK and the United States and there is further potential for these brands in other markets.

"Today's investment in Hiestand will provide a platform which will allow us to unlock the potential synergies in both complementary markets and technologies."​Wolfgang Werle, Hiestand's chief executive, agreed that the partnership would benefit both companies.

"Both have the same philosophy, are working to a similar concept and are geographically complementary. Having a strategic investor on board that is so experienced and focused on penetrating high quality bakery goods in the retail and foodservice markets will enable Hiestand to carry out its existing strategy in an even more focused manner and gives us access to new market opportunities.

"This new venture with IAWS is one more instance where we are raising the bar on the standards of quality we will be able to deliver throughout our chain."

Hiestand posted sales of €200 million last year, while IAWS turnover was nearer €1.3 billion.

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