In an all-Swiss deal, Bell Food Group, which claims to be one of Europe’s leading meat producers, has acquired Dr A Stoffel Holding, the majority shareholder in Hügli.
Bell Food Group is also making a public tender offer to buy all outstanding shares in Hügli, priced at CHF915 (Swiss Francs) per share.
Once complete, Bell Food Group claim it would be responsible for more than a quarter of sales generated in Europe’s convenience food sector, making it a leader in this field. This would significantly strengthen the company, which is already a business generating CHF3.4bn (US$3.5bn) of revenue per year.
Bell Food Group said it also planned to increase capital investment to CHF600m to finance the acquisition and additional “growth investments” in the convenience food sector.
The takeover has been financed through a mix of equity and debt capital. The split was not disclosed.
Hügli will operate as a subsidiary of Bell Food Group. It plans to elect Jean Gérard Villot, current chairman of the board at Hügli, as an additional member of its board of directors.
“As well as strengthening our traditional areas of business, the acquisition of Hügli marks an important milestone in our growth strategy in the convenience sector,” said Hansueli Loosli, chairman of the board of directors, Bell Food Group.
“We are proud that Hügli’s founding family has chosen us as the new owner. We believe this combination has great potential to benefit our customers, employees and shareholders.”
Hügli produces soups, sauces and meat alternatives, employs 1,500 people and operates 10 production plants in Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic and the UK.