Hong Kong-based Baring Private Equity Asia (Baring Asia) has acquired a 40 per cent stake in the UK-based manufacturer of cereals and cereal bars, Weetabix Food Company (Weetabix). Financial terms of the transaction were undisclosed.
Commenting on the investment, Giles Turrell, CEO, Weetabix, said, “We are an established leader in the UK breakfast cereal market with an aim to become a globally recognised brand. With continued backing from Bright Food and this investment from Baring Asia, we now have an even greater opportunity to strengthen and expand the Weetabix brand internationally.”
The acquisition comes in advance of Weetabix targeting further expansion in the Greater China market. As part of this growth strategy, Baring Asia will be partnering with Bright Food, the controlling shareholder of Weetabix – a major state-owned food manufacturing firm in China – to grow the Weetabix business in China.
Yongjie Lv, the chairman of Bright Food Group, was optimistic about the partnership with Baring Asia in growing the China footprint of Weetabix’s, as well as the mindshare of its brand portfolio among Chinese consumers.
Lv stated: “We are delighted to be working with Baring Asia to execute on this strategy, benefitting from their sector experience in food and beverage, strong credentials in helping companies execute cross-border growth strategies, pan-Asia network and hands-on operational experience.”
The largest breakfast cereal brand in the United Kingdom (UK) with a global footprint spanning 87 countries across Asia, Europe, the Middle East, North America and Africa, Weetabix includes the Weetabix, Alpen, Ready-brek, Weetos, Oatibix and Alpen cereal bars as part of its family of brands.
Jean Eric Salata, founder and CEO of Baring Asia, commented, “Weetabix is an established and profitable brand in the UK, and is well positioned to take advantage of the strong consumer demand in China for high-quality and nutritious food products. We look forward to partnering with Bright Food, one of the largest food and beverage manufacturing companies in China and its vast nationwide distribution network, to expand Weetabix in China.”