Swiss food group Nestlé is to acquire the ice cream operations of compatriot Mövenpick in a move designed to improve the growth and performance of its frozen dessert operations.
Nestlé said that the deal covered the Mövenpick brand for ice cream products and related ice cream businesses across the world apart from Mövenpick's New Zealand manufacturing operations. The price paid for the business was not disclosed.
Mövenpick branded ice cream sales worldwide amount to approximately SF300 million (€205m), with most of it sold through licensed partners. In Switzerland, the business, including exports, accounts for around SF40 million.
Mövenpick has operated its successful ice cream business mainly through licensing agreements with companies in Germany, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. In Germany, the key market for Mövenpick ice cream, the Schöller Company, acquired by Nestlé in March 2002, was the licence holder.
Nestlé will continue to manufacture Mövenpick ice cream products in Switzerland.
The agreement between Nestlé and Mövenpick does not include other Mövenpick food businesses such as coffee, jams, chilled dairy products and wines, nor the hotels and restaurant business, which will continue to be owned by the Mövenpick group.
Nestlé said that the deal would enhance its position as one of the world market leaders in ice cream, a position which it has built up from almost nothing over the last 10 years.
"The high quality and brand image of Mövenpick ideally complements the Nestlé ice cream brand portfolio, particularly in Europe, increasing at the same time the Nestlé presence in the category with high quality brands such as Häagen-Dazs in North America and Antica Gelateria del Corso in Italy," the company said in a statement.
Meanwhile, reports also suggest that Nestlé is on the verge of selling the Mont Blanc dairy dessert brand to the venture capital fund Activa Capital. Dow Jones claimed that Nestlé would sell the production facilities for the French brand while retaining the marketing rights. Activa Capital said it was looking to buy the Mont Blanc operations through a management buyout in which Nestlé would remain a minority shareholder.