Hostess diversifies product offerings with acquisition of leading BFY cookie company

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Voortman Cookies is the number one player in crème wafers and sugar-free cookies, according to Nielsen data. Pic: Voortman Cookies
Voortman Cookies is the number one player in crème wafers and sugar-free cookies, according to Nielsen data. Pic: Voortman Cookies

Related tags Hostess brands Voortman Cookies better-for-you sugar-free

Hostess Brands Inc. has finalised its acquisition of Ontario’s Voortman Cookies Ltd. from private equity firm Swander Pace Capital (SPC) for a cash transaction valued at approximately C$425m ($320m).

Burlington-headquartered Voortman is the number one player in crème wafers and sugar-free cookies, and one of the fastest-growing brands in the $8.4bn packaged cookie industry, clocking up a 5% CAGR over the past three years, as reported by Nielsen for the 52 weeks ended November 2, 2019.

The bakery was founded in 1951 by Dutch emigrants William and Harry Voortman and produces more than 60 varieties of premium, branded cookies and wafers, including an extensive line of sugar-free/no sugar added products. The products are sold mainly across North America, but are also exported to 70 countries around the world.

Working to reach full potential

In 2004, the bakery was the first North American food brand to remove trans fats from its retail food products.

SPC led a consortium – including Twin Bridge Capital Partners, PPM America Capital Partners, Manulife Capital and Roynat Capital Inc. – to acquire the bakery in October 2015.

In 2017, the cookie producer underwent a total relaunch to update its logo, packaging and recipes: replacing  high-fructose corn syrups, artificial colours and artificial flavours with all-natural, real ingredients.

The same year, the brand was awarded the Women’s Choice Award, based on a customer satisfaction survey conducted by WomenCertified Inc.

“It has been a genuine pleasure partnering with management and the Voortman family to help the company reach its full potential,” ​said Tyler Matlock, director of SPC.

“For nearly seven decades, Voortman has demonstrated, time and again, its ability to innovate and grow while delivering consistent quality and service to its customers.

“We believe Hostess will be an exceptional steward of the brand as Voortman continues its trajectory of growth.”

Compelling financial benefits

Voortman will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hostess, giving the CPG giant a further foothold in the attractive, adjacent wafer and sugar-free cookie categories with better-for-you characteristics.

Hostess believes the transaction will achieve at least $15m in annual run-rate cost synergies within 12-18 months and provide approximately $20m of incremental adjusted EBITDA in 2020, growing to $40m-$50m by 2020.

“Voortman is a leading brand with a well-defined consumer position that complements and extends the growing Hostess portfolio into the growing cookie and better-for-you sweet snacking categories with meaningful runway for future growth,”​ said Andy Callahan, Hostess’ president and CEO.

“We expect the combination of Hostess’ lean, proven operating model and Voortman’s brand and adjacent category position will result in meaningful cost savings and growth opportunities.

“This acquisition fits well into our long-term growth strategy and we are confident that Voortman will be a great addition to our existing sweet baked goods snacking and breakfast portfolio.”

The sale represents the latest successful deal by SPC in the baked goods and snack industries, having previously completed transactions with Café Valley, Bäckerhaus Veit, Pineridge Bakery, Ideal Snacks and Nonni’s.

The firm said it will continue to seek opportunities to partner with companies in these categories and leverage its expertise and playbook to help drive further growth and expansion.

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