Vegemite brand back in Australian company hands following $460m Bega acquisition

ASX-listed taking over one of Australia’s most iconic brands as part of purchase of Mondelez International’s A/NZ grocery and cheese business

Bega Cheese says acquiring the iconic Vegemite brand as part of its $460 million purchase of Mondelez International’s A/NZ grocery and cheese business will give it the leg up it needs to become a leading Australian branded consumer goods business.

The ASX-listed company has entered an agreement to acquire the majority of Mondelez International’s local grocery and cheese business, a portfolio which includes Vegemite, Bonox, ZoOSh, and a transitional royalty-free licence for several Kraft products such as peanut butter and cheese as well as nut spreads. It also gains a licence for the Dairylead and Snackabouts brands, along with inventory, property, equipment and employee entitlements. The deal does not include any Philadelphia products.

In its presentation to investors, the company said it was already developing a brand rationalisation and transition strategy to support the peanut butter, cheese and salad dressings business once the licence runs out in December 2017.

“It is a rare opportunity to acquire Vegemite – this is a moment where Vegemite doesn’t often change hands – in fact, it hasn’t changed hands for 90 years,” said Bega executive chairman, Barry Irvin, during the investor presentation.

“The combination of Australia’s most iconic food brand with Bega Cheese’s product portfolio creates a leading Australian branded consumer goods business.”

The combined portfolio is expected to generate pro-forma annual net revenue of $310 million and EBITDA of $40-$45 million in its first year under Bega ownership. The deal is being funded from a $500m debt facility provided by existing lenders. More than 200 people will be coming into the Bega Cheese business as part of the acquisition agreement.

In its investor statement, Bega said the acquisition delivered a strong branded consumer food platform and scalable production facility based in Port Melbourne, along with a strong sales and marketing, research and development and operations team. It also provides the group with the opportunity to diversify outside of its dairy category with a wider consumer products range.

“It significant enhances Bega Cheese’s already strong retailer and food service relationships… and adds further diversification to Bega Cheese’s large B2B dairy foods and nutritional business,” the presentation read. “The combined Bega Cheese and Mondelez Grocery Business is expected to energise staff and create new marketing, development and brand opportunities.”

Irvine noted the two businesses had a combined heritage of 200 years.

“This is a food manufacturer with iconic brands and some great opportunity into the future,” he said. “Our view is a simple one: We are expanding by acquisition with a business that has strong cashflows from strong brands, but also an opportunity to grow into areas such as peanut butter and salad dressings. And at the core of both our businesses too is cheese.”

Irvin also highlighted an excellent culture across the Mondelez grocery and cheese division. “Not unlike Bega, very long-term staff members are product of the brand they produce and service and they’re depicted to the success of the business they operate in,” he said, adding a host of marketing and consumer brand expertise would be coming into the group as a result.

According to Mondelez figures, Vegemite is found in more than 90 per cent of Australian pantries, with more than 300,000 jars produced every day. In addition, Mondelez claims its grocery business represents 31 per cent of the $550 million spreads category in Australia, growing 5 per cent on a year-by-year basis since 2013.

Irvine pointed out Bega had been producing the Kraft cheeses on behalf of the brand for Mondelez for many years.

Mondelez A/NZ and Japan vice-president, Amanda Banfield, said it has been an absolute honour and privilege to have nurtured brands such as Vegemite for the past 90 years.

"But as we further our focus on core snacking categories and global Power Brands, the time is right for these brands to take the next step in their journey," she said. "We are pleased to have found a home for these talented people and grocery brands in a company that shares our passion for their future.”

The news comes as Bega ushers in COO and former sales and marketing general manager, Paul van Heerwaarden, as its new CEO, effective on 1 February 2017. In a statement announcing the appointment last November, van Heerwaarden said an early focus would be on building out the group’s food service and consumer products sales and marketing capability to complement its manufacturing expertise.

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+:google.com/+CmoAu

Join the CMO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Supporting Association

Blog Posts

Is AI on course to take over human creativity?

Computers and artificial intelligence have come along at an exponential rate over the past few decades, from being regarded as oversized adding machines to the point where they have played integral roles in some legitimately creative endeavours.

Jason Dooris

CEO and founder, Atomic 212

Are you leading technology changes or is technology leading you?

In a recent conversation with a chief technology officer, he asserted all digital technology changes in his organisation were being led by IT and not by marketing. It made me wonder: How long a marketing function like this could survive?

Jean-Luc Ambrosi

Author, marketer

Disruption Down Under – What’s Amazon’s real competitive advantage?

Savvy shoppers wait in anticipation, while Australian retailers are gearing up for the onslaught. Amazon’s arrival is imminent.

Thanks for picking this up. We are always happy to add richness to our products and in turn the lives of our followers and fans.

Fitbit Middle East

​Fitbit announces new virtual race platform to enhance customer experience

Read more

Thanks for a very interesting article. B2B marketing seems tricky. I think that marketing plays a vital part - it can build the brand and...

Aaren

From tactical overhead to strategic growth driver: B2B marketing in the digital age

Read more

meanwhile loads of people with digital skills are not finding work or getting an opportunity to be hired?? Double standards perhaps.

Graduate dying on centrelink

Report reveals Australia faces digital skills shortage

Read more

These laws are in one way or other giving businesses to VPN service providers & other cyber utilities. Just read PureVPN claiming 37%...

Paige Hudson

Getting prepared for mandatory data breach reporting

Read more

Great Post.Thanks for sharing such an informative article.I have worked with Ally Digital Media and it has a very good service which is b...

Utkarsh Kansara

Predictions: 17 digital marketing trends for 2017

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in