Nestle's Gerber acquisition complete
is complete, the company said today.
The $5.5bn (€4bn) acquisition was cleared by the European Commission in April, and highlights Nestle's continuing expansion into a nutrition, health and wellness company. "This is a major step in Nestle's transformation into the world's leading nutrition, health and wellness company," the company said today. "It gives the group the number one position in the largest single baby food market worldwide, the USA, and clearly establishes Nestle Nutrition as the global leader in this sector. The company has said this makes the Nestle Nutrition business worth CHF 10bn (€6.1bn) in sales. The acquisition was completed on August 31, with effect from September 1, and includes 4,500 Gerber employees joining the group. In Europe, Gerber manufactures and sells baby food such as baby meals in jars, baby drinks and cereals. In April, Peter Braback-Letmathe, chairman of Nestle, said that the acquisition of Gerber is a "perfect complementary fit". The Gerber acquisition follows the company's purchase of Jenny Craig, the Australian cereal business Uncle Toby's and Novartis Medical Nutrition within the past year. In June the company said it is eyeing organic growth in health, wellness and nutrition of five to six per cent over the next ten years. Gerber is reported to be one of the most trusted brands amongst consumers in the US, with net sales estimated to approach $2bn for 2007. The company also enjoys strong positions in Mexico, Poland and Central America. Nestle recently exceeded financial expectations with full-year organic growth boosted by the company's focus on nutrition, research and core brands. Sales at the group rose to CHF98.5bn (€60.5bn) while organic growth was 6.2 per cent and net profit was up 13.8 per cent to CHF9.2bn (€5.6bn).