Lallemand buys UK arm of GBI's bakery yeast business

By Guy Montague-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags European union Portugal

Canada-based Lallemand has acquired the UK yeast facilities of GB Ingredients (GBI), after a Commission investigation revealed insufficient competition in the European market.

Lallemand bought the UK arm from Cie des Levures Lesaffre having already acquired the Spanish and Portuguese wings of the business earlier this year. The acquisitions come a year after the baker’s yeast division of GBI was sold to Associated British Foods (ABF).

Competition concerns

Giving its clearance for the ABF purchase of the GBI business in September, the European Commission laid down conditions that included the sale of certain parts of GBI’s bakery yeast division. It ruled that that the original proposal would have restricted competition in Spain and Portugal, leaving Lesaffre as the only major competitor to ABF in the compressed yeast market.

Lallemand was therefore chosen as the buyer that had enough market clout to buy up slices of the bakery business and resolve any competition concerns.

In the latest deal, Lallemand takes ownership of the GBI yeast factory in Felixstowe, which is the bigger of only two yeast plants for bakers remaining in the UK.

The factory produces fresh cream and compressed yeasts for bakers and distillers as well as instant dry yeast for the European and world markets.

Buying the UK arm of GBI gives Lallemand as significant a presence in Europe as it has built up in North America.

Spain and Portugal

The purchase follows the acquisition of GBI’s yeast business in Spain and Portugal from AB Mauri back in May. At the same time, Lallemand also bought the AB Mauri yeast plant in Setubal (south of Lisbon).

AB Mauri owners Associated British Foods (ABF) had agreed to sell the Spanish and Portuguese businesses following the European Commission investigation into the GBI acquisition. ABF agreed to divest the GBI plants in Spain and Portugal to a buyer with sufficient production capability to supply the businesses.

Lallemand said the move gives its company a major presence in the Iberian market for bakery yeast. In addition, the company said the businesses have the capacity to eventually compete more effectively in the French market and the world dry yeast markets.

Canada-based Lallemand is a major player in the market for yeast and bacteria with 2,200 employees in more than 30 countries.

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