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German group buys two meat companies

Oscar Rousseau

By Oscar Rousseau+

12-Apr-2017
Last updated on 12-Apr-2017 at 14:02 GMT2017-04-12T14:02:22Z

DBAG said Abbelen is the largest manufacturer of chilled meatballs in Germany
DBAG said Abbelen is the largest manufacturer of chilled meatballs in Germany

Private equity group Deutsche Beteiligungs AG (DBAG) has swooped on two family-run meat firms in a bid to create a chilled foods "market leader" in Europe.

DBAG has bought a 90% stake in UK prepared foods business Oscar Mayer and German-based Abbelen for undisclosed sums.

Abbelen is said to be to be the largest manufacturer of chilled meatballs and ready-to-cook burgers in Germany.

Oscar Mayer makes retail-label prepared foods for the UK’s leading supermarkets, colloquially known as the Big Four – Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons.

‘Attractive’

Through the acquisition of the two companies, the German private equity firm DBAG hopes to create a “market leader” in Europe’s convenience food space by creating a joint management holding company.

We believe it is a very attractive entrepreneurial approach to create a European market leader with leading national suppliers of fresh convenience food products,” said Dr Rolf Scheffels, a member of the DBAG executive board.

The market for ready-to-serve foods and snacks is hardly cyclical and is growing steadily with high rates, so we are investing in a particularly attractive segment of the food market.

‘Promising’

The two new companies will be managed independently under the umbrella of the unnamed joint management holding company. With the double acquisition, still subject to regulatory approval, DBAG hopes to develop new products and lift global sales.

More acquisitions of food companies are expected in the future, although DBAG did not specify how soon it hoped to announce further takeovers.

Oscar Mayer is said to be a UK market-leading producer of retail-ready prepared foods and operates four sites across England and Wales, with 2,650 employees. It is unclear if any jobs are at risk because of the takeover.

The company’s chief executive John Bigwood said DBAG was the “right partner” to help grow the business in a “promising way”.

Germany meatball and ready-to-eat hamburger producer Abbelen employs more than 600 staff in a single factory in North Rhine-Westphalia – home to a high concentration of German meat factories. Abbelen produces private-label meat products for retailers.

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