Glenboden M & A Originations

Eckes-Granini acquires Swedish juice producer to raise profile as serial acquiror in Europe

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Origination Status company acquisition announced, July 2007;
Asset Bramhults Juice AB (Sweden), leading producer of chilled premium juice in Scandinavia;
Buyer Eckes-Granini Group GmbH (Germany), leading producer of branded fruit juice in Europe;
Seller Mellby Gard Industri AB (Sweden), diversified industrial group;
Buyer Rationale expansion in Scandinavia, portfolio development in premium segment;
Seller Rationale attractive valuation through competitive tender process;
NBs Bramhults is no. 2 player in Sweden and no.3 in Denmark, with >30% sales growth rates.
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It’s not only the Cokes and Pepsis of the soft drinks world that are making acquisitions, these days. Family-owned Eckes-Granini is an exciting company that not so many people know about. Fast-growing, acquiring brands and extending its footprint throughout Europe, and focused on the healthy fruit juices, nectars and drinks of the future. It still has gaps in its geographic coverage, some of which it will try to fill through acqiuisition.

We’ve been waiting for a deal in the fast-growing ‘fresh and chilled’ segment of the juice business, and at last we have one. Eckes proudly announces, in fact, that Bramhults is ‘the only producer of chilled, locally pressed fruit juice’ in its market.

Sounds like an excellent platform, albeit in the relatively small Nordic market. The company’s high growth rate is to be expected, but its leading market share position is a bit of a surprise, since fresh juice is still quite nichey in scale throughout Europe. Perhaps Bramhults also produces a lot of commodity ambient juice, behind the headlines.

Apparently, Eckes beat not only Arla and Orkla, the big incumbents in commodity juice in Scandinavia, but also Coca-Cola, in the tender to win Bramhults. One can just picture the modest, understated owners of Eckes, being constantly bombarded by takeover approaches from Coca-Cola and, most probably given their much ‘juicier’ profile, Pepsico.

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