Bright Food Group, one of China’s largest food groups, announced on Monday that it had completed the acquisition of 60% of the share capital of British Weetabix Food Company.

With an Enterprise Value of 1.2 billion pounds ($19.2 billion), including company shares and debt, the transaction marks the largest overseas acquisition by a Chinese company in the food and beverage sector.

This transaction is an important move by Bright Food in its overseas expansion strategy, allowing it to enter into both the UK and global food markets through the acquisition of a premium global brand.

Bright Food is committed to driving the global growth and success of the Weetabix business, with a focus on the potential in Asia and especially in China.

China’s cereal market is growing at 20% annually as a result of a growing appetite in the country for packaged and convenient healthy foods.

The Weetabix brand will now have access to all of Bright Food’s channels, including over 100,000 retail outlets, allowing it to access Chinese households more rapidly.

In addition, Weetabix is conducting research on the diet and taste preferences of Chinese consumers to support the launch of new products for the Chinese market.

Commenting on the completion of the acquisition, Wang Zongnan, Chairman of Bright Food, said “This is a landmark acquisition for Bright Food, signaling its entry into both the UK and global food markets through the iconic Weetabix brand.”

“Bright Food will increase the level of investment in Weetabix brands and product innovation to facilitate its development in the international markets. In particular, Bright Food is committed to leveraging its resources and extensive experience across all aspects of the food industry to underpin Weetabix’s expansion in Asia, in particular China.”

Giles Turrell, CEO of Weetabix, said “We are delighted about our partnership with Bright Food. We firmly believe that Weetabix will benefit from Bright Food’s extensive resources and experience in both the Chinese and international markets and we are confident that with Bright Food’s support we will be able to significantly strengthen our market position and expand our business internationally.”

“We look forward to working with Bright Food to introduce our portfolio of brands to new markets and also to develop and launch additional products which cater for the Chinese market.”

Bright Food is one of the largest Chinese international conglomerates in the food industry, with operations throughout the entire food industrial chain including agriculture, food processing, brand agency service and retail among others. Weetabix Food Company is the second largest branded manufacturer of cereals and cereal bars in the Britain.

Source: China Daily Nov 2012

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