The Finish food firm is recognised as Finland’s biggest grain processor. It places emphasis on value-added and healthy products, and recent investments have lactose-free and plant-based Keiju oat, soy, and rice drinks.
Today’s news, which caused an immediate rise in Raisio’s share prices, is said to “bring further clarity” to Raisio’s focus on grain-based products.
CEO Matti Rihko said: “The deal is an important step for Raisio towards focusing on grain-based business. The price is also very good. The transaction will bring Raisio a new, significant Benecol partner, who is looking to develop Benecol and functional foods.”
The Benecol ingredient, which makes up a separate division for Raisio and is a strong driver for the group as a whole, is understood not to be included in the sale.
Rihko drew attention to the good performance of the margarine business in the last two years. He called the purchase “a natural addition to Bunge”, and said it will help the US giant gain a stronger footing in Central and Northern Europe and stimulate consolidation in the sector.
Raisio will continue selling margarine in Finland, Sweden and Estonia in a partnership carved out under the agreement.
The sale – which is subject to competition approval – includes margarine plants in Finland and Poland, and brands including Keiju, Makuisa, Masmix and Pyszny Duet. Bunge will have licenses for the Sunnuntai and Carlshamn brands.
Around 300 employees will transfer from Raisio to Bunge. Bunge, meanwhile, has around 25,000 employees in 30 countries. It saw net sales in 2008 of $52.6 bn (€39.6 bn).