June 18, 2013
Camden, N.J.Campbell Soup Company on Monday announced a deal to acquire fast-growing Kelsen Group A/S, a Danish company that produces baked snacks that are sold in 85 countries.
Kelsen Group is a leader in the sweet biscuits category in Hong Kong and China and has achieved strong growth in the latter country where it has been exporting Danish butter cookies for more than two decades, according to Campbell. Its notable brands include Kjeldsens and Royal Dansk.
Subject to regulatory approvals and other closing conditions, the 144-year-old soup icon will acquire Kelsen Group from Maj Invest, a private equity firm, and several other investors.
Campbell plans to operate Kelsen Group as a standalone business based in Denmark. The company will report to Luca Mignini, President of Campbell International.
"The acquisition of this successful business is another important step in Campbell's quest to delight new consumers through expansion into higher-growth spaces, including fast-growing emerging markets," Campbell President and CEO Denise Morrison said in a statement.
In China, Hong Kong and the United States, Kelsen Group is the largest exporter of premium butter cookies, according to the company's website. Commenting on the deal, the company noted plans to expand its "position as the leading producer of butter cookies in tin boxes."
Kelsen Group has 366 employees around the world and generated $180 million in net sales for the year ending Dec. 31, 2012, according to Campbell. Kelsen Group has shown strong growth, with aggregate net sales increasing at a compound double-digit rate since 2009, Campbell said.
The deal, whose financial terms were not disclosed, brings together two companies with roots dating backs decades or longer. Kelsen Group started with a family bakery in 1933. Still, it's not as seasoned as Campbell, which was founded in 1869 and owns such marquee brands as "Campbell's", "Pepperidge Farm" and "V8".
In the most recent quarter ended April 28Campbell posted net earnings of $181 million on sales of $2.094 billionCampbell reported that its international business was up 2% with improvements in Indonesia, Malaysia and Hong Kong.
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