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Australia's Bega buys rights to Vegemite, Kraft brands

New Zealand's Cadbury factory is not included in the A$460 million deal.

Paul McBeth
Thu, 19 Jan 2017

Australian-listed dairy company Bega Cheese will buy the bulk of Mondelez International's trans-Tasman grocery business, including the flagship Vegemite brand, for A$460 million.

The deal will be fully funded by Bega's existing A$500 million banking facility and is expected to boost earnings by A$40-45 million and revenue by A$310 million in the first full year of operation, Bega said. The dairy group generated sales of A$1.2 billion in the year ended June, with earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of A$65.4 million.

The acquisition will give Bega the global trademark rights for Vegemite spread and ZoOSh salad dressings, a transitional royalty licence for several Kraft products including peanut butter and cheese until the end of the year, 6.3ha of land and buildings in Port Melbourne, and a licence for Dairylea and Snackabouts brands. The Philadelphia cream cheese brand wasn't included in the sale.

The transaction is expected to be completed in the first half of this year, and Bega said it will provide new cash flow and growing businesses that mirror its existing structure, and greater diversification to its existing dairy foods and nutritional businesses.

"This acquisition will be value accretive in its own right, strategically important and company making," executive chairman Barry Irvin said in a statement. "These iconic brands alongside the Bega brand are strong building blocks to enable Bega Cheese to become a great consumer goods business."

Australian dairy companies were caught off-guard by last year's slump in global dairy prices when there was a supply glut, although Bega managed to ride through the downturn, lifting annual revenue and more than doubling profit.

Mondelez's New Zealand operations include the Cadbury factory which was part of a global takeover in 2010. However, it is understood the factory was not included in the deal, as Mondelez is keeping the rights to the Cadbury and Oreo brands, as well as the Natural Confectionery Company.

The local holding company posted a profit of $9.2 million in calendar 2015 on revenue $291.3 million, of which $68.3 million of sales were to Mondelez Australia and $19.4 million to Cadbury Enterprises.

Bega's ASX-listed shares jumped 8.7 percent to A$4.87.


Paul McBeth
Thu, 19 Jan 2017
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Australia's Bega buys rights to Vegemite, Kraft brands