Pladis, the Turkish company that owns Godiva chocolate and McVitie’s biscuits, is considering making an offer for Nestle’s US confectionery assets, which could be valued at around $2bn, as part of its international expansion plans.
A bid for Nestle’s US portfolio — which includes regional mass-market brands such as Butterfinger, Crunch and 100 Grand — would appear to mark a shift from Pladis’s stated strategy of focusing on the high end of the market, which is performing better than mid-tier brands.
“We are looking at Nestle’s confectionery assets in the US,” chief executive Cem Karakas told Reuters. “Certainly we haven’t made a decision, but we are looking at it.”
Nestle said in June it might sell its US confectionery business, the latest sign of pressure on the North American market following last year’s failed bid by Mondelez International for Hershey.
Pladis, itself born from a string of acquisitions, is not working with external financial advisers on the process, which has also attracted Lemonheads owner Ferrara.
Pladis, a subsidiary of Turkey’s Yildiz Holding, is interested in bolt-on acquisitions that give it manufacturing capacity or distribution in particular markets, Karakas said.
The global confectionery market will have retail sales of about $102.5bn this year, according to Euromonitor.
Over the past five years, higher-end brands such as Ferrero Rocher, Lindor and Ritter have all grown more than 7%, while mass-market brands like Cadbury, Hershey’s and Mars have grown about 3% or less.
Consumers’ preference for artisanal or quality brands offsets some of the pressure exerted by growing health consciousness and moves away from sugary snacks.
Pladis is aiming to double its chocolate sales by the end of 2019, and turn Godiva into a £2bn pound a year brand by 2021.
It has been working toward that goal with this year’s supermarket launch of Godiva chocolate bars, in flavours including blood orange, hazelnut and caramel.
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