CSM spears bakery ingredients

Related tags Bakery ingredients Investment Sweden Csm

Dutch bakery ingredients firm CSM continues to focus on core
business, clearing the sale of its sugar confectionery unit Malaco
Leaf to investment companies Nordic Capital and CVC Capital

A total investment of €850 million, the new owners have re-named the business Leaf and will have joint control of the company.

Leaf, with brands such as Malaco, Dietorelle, and Sportlife, has an annual turnover of €750 million, with 4300 employees across Europe and Asia, although its roots and major production units are located in the Nordic countries.

The CSM divestment, announced in August, fits in with the €2.8 billion firm's strategy to focus on its core bakery supplies and sugar operations, shaving off any units in the way of this aim.

Earlier this month, for example, CSM sold its Swedish subsidiary BakeMark Sweden to private equity group Accent. Under terms of the €8.75 million deal, Accent Equity Partners will take over all the operations of BakeMark Sweden, that has a turnover of €28 million, including the factory in Fagersta and the head office in Stockholm.

Elsewhere, additional savings were announced in March this year when CSM said it would close four of its bakery ingredients distribution units in the US.

Slicing away nearly 150 jobs and bringing savings of about €60 million, the €2.8 billion firm announced plans to shut down BakeMark East centres in Buffalo, Saratoga, St Louis and New Orleans.

But carving a bigger slice of European bakery ingredients market, CSM went on the acquisition trail in 2003: buying in June the bakery operations of Coberco Dairy Foods, outside The Netherlands, that had an annual turnover of €11 million.

And in May, 9500-strong CSM reached an agreement to acquire the bakery ingredients business of Unilever in Hungary. The transaction, valued at €5.1 million ($5.9 million), took effect from 31 May 2004.

In March 2004 the firm officially sealed the merger of UK bakery ingredients and finished foods firms, Arkady Craigmillar, Readi-Bake and Caravan Brill.

CSM bought Readi-bake, a subsidiary of Country Home Bakers with annual sales of €22 million, in 2003 for €28 million, giving the firm a step up into American-style cookies and sweet treats in the British market.

CSM claims to have a 12 per cent share of the European bakery ingredients and products market. The bakery ingredients unit, which covers a wide range of products including lactic acids and food preservatives sold mainly under the Purac brand, saw a slight drop in turnover for the first half of this year to €138.9 million.

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