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Griffin's announce sale to URC

Griffin's announce sale to URC

Griffin’s signs agreement for sale of company to Universal Robina

Gingernuts, Cookie Bear, MallowPuffs, Eta Salty Snacks and Nice & Natural Snack Bars to benefit from strong demand from Asian consumers

Commitment to continued local employment, manufacturing and Investment

Local success story and leading snack food company Griffin’s Foods Limited (“Griffin’s” or “the company”) is pleased to announce the sale of the company from funds advised by Pacific Equity Partners (PEP) to Universal Robina Corporation (URC) for NZ$700 million subject to Overseas Investment Office (OIO) approval.

After 150 years of baking heritage, this transaction is the logical next step for NZ’s market-leading Snack Food company, Griffin’s, which is focused on expanding its export opportunities and taking Griffin’s products to new markets.

Over the past eight years under Pacific Equity Partners (PEP) ownership with management, the Griffin’s team has invested over NZ$180 million into the operations of the company, creating two world-class snacks manufacturing super centers based in Auckland and acquiring the Nice & Natural business. The team has not only rejuvenated the domestic portfolio of the Griffin’s business but also laid the groundwork for a rapidly expanding export business, with New Zealand’s most iconic products now being sold in over 20 countries around the world and generating over a third of the business’

The acquisition by URC provides Griffin’s with a network of consumers in the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong and China from which to drive export growth.

URC has made a commitment to invest behind the local team to grow the business in New Zealand, Australia and Asia and is attracted to the high quality of Griffin’s products, produced locally in New Zealand by 800 highly talented employees.

Griffin’s Executive Chairman, Ron Vela, said:

“Like Griffin’s, URC is a leading branded food company that started as a small, family-owned business and has successfully expanded its markets offshore to become one of the largest food and beverage companies in the region with operations in ASEAN markets including the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong and China.

“The Griffin’s board believes URC’s significant experience in developing its own export markets makes it the ideal partner to take Griffin’s forward as it embarks on this next exciting stage of growth.”

Griffin’s Chief Executive-elect, Alison Taylor, said:

“We are delighted with the growth Griffin’s has achieved in recent years. Griffin’s now enjoys number one status in the New Zealand snacks market, with leading market shares across key segments and is a significant supplier to the grocery trade in Australia. While we will continue to grow our domestic business, our focus is also on developing our export markets as the future platform for the business. We’d love to see more of New Zealand’s high quality and much-loved products being enjoyed and recognised in other markets and we are excited about the opportunities the URC platform will provide for further expansion.”

URC President and Chief Executive, Lance Gokongwei, said:

"In recent years URC has been looking for opportunities to explore potential acquisitions and partnerships in line with our vision to be a significant regional player in snack foods and beverages.

“While we have already built very strong brands, our strategy is to continue offering our existing consumers and markets in the ASEAN and Greater China regions with innovative, convenient, lifestyle-focused and on-the-go products.

“We believe Griffin’s is a natural strategic fit to our existing snack foods portfolio given its strong brand heritage in New Zealand – a country trusted worldwide in having high credibility when it comes to food quality, safety and authenticity.

“The global trend of snacking is fast transforming the sector and our plan is to continue offering our consumers in Asia new and exciting premium brands such as Griffin’s Biscuits, ETA Salty Snacks and Nice & Natural Wrapped Snacks.

“We believe Griffin’s is at the forefront of global consumer trends in snacking, including: indulgence; a sense of play and excitement; using natural ingredients; ensuring traceability of source; and providing healthy alternatives. We are very excited to introduce and grow these brands in Asia.”

Griffin’s was founded by John Griffin in Nelson in 1864 and has always had an iconic presence in New Zealand, producing great tasting local products, employing local people and building local brands consistently over various eras of ownership. Griffin’s was owned by Kraft’s Nabisco (USA) in the 1960s for close to 30 years; Groupe Danone (France) in the 1990s for 16 years; and most recently by Pacific Equity Partners (Australia) over the past eight years during a phase of significant investment and Following the transaction the Griffin’s team will remain in place, with COO Alison Taylor stepping into the Chief Executive role once OIO approval has been determined. Ron Vela has been retained as a Consultant to the senior team at URC.

Credit Suisse and First NZ Capital were exclusive M&A advisors to Griffin's.’s

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