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Tootsie Roll posts 2015 growth as Warren Buffet and potential suitors lurk

Douglas Yu

By Douglas Yu+

11-Feb-2016
Last updated on 11-Feb-2016 at 16:01 GMT2016-02-11T16:01:24Z

Tootsie Roll Industries attracting interest from Hershey, Berkshire Hathaway and Yildiz Holdings, says Mintel analyst  Photo: Flickr - Windell Oskay
Tootsie Roll Industries attracting interest from Hershey, Berkshire Hathaway and Yildiz Holdings, says Mintel analyst Photo: Flickr - Windell Oskay

Tootsie Roll has grown net sales and earnings in the fourth quarter and full-year 2015, which one analysts says may intensify interest from Warren Buffet or Turkish firm Yildiz Holdings.

The Chicago-based candy company's long-serving CEO, Melvin Gordon, died in January last year, and his 83-year-old widow, Ellen Gordon, now leads the firm.

Business grew despite unfavorable foreign currency translation

Gordon said in a statement the business was negatively affected by foreign currency translation due to the strength of the US dollar despite growing consolidated sales for the fourth quarter of 2015. 

Tootsie Roll’s fourth quarter and 12 months net earnings per share increased by 10% and 6% respectively thanks to the declining energy costs and improved manufacturing efficiency.

Gordon said she expected ingredients costs to be higher in 2016.

Independence for now

Mintel’s director of insight, food and drink, Marcia Mogelonsky, said Tootie Roll's gains in 2015 were positive for the company, which ranks in the upper third of top 100 global confectionery manufacturers.

But suitors are eyeing the company, said Mogelonsky, adding that it will be interesting to watch how the firm performs in a consolidating sector.

Although Hershey’s most recent move towards better-for-you acquisitions, such as Krave, suggests Hershey it may shy away from buying a classical confectioner, Mogelonsky said both Hershey and Berkshire Hathaway have been cited as interested in acquiring Tootsie Roll.

“Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway, which owns See's Candies, may pursue Tootsie Roll," she said.

Mogelonsky added that Yildiz Holdings, which recently acquired DeMet's Candy, may also see Tootie Roll an attractive addition as part of its US expansion plan.

“But Gordon's moves to streamline the company with improvements in distribution, delivery and manufacturing, may have made it possible for Tootsie Roll to maintain its independence,” she added. “At least for now.”

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