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Wessanen to acquire Abafoods, a European expert in vegetal drinks and a leading brand in Italy

Wessanen and the owners of Abafoods have signed an agreement for the purchase of Abafoods  for a purchase consideration of €52 million on a cash and debt free basis. Closing is expected to be in January 2015.

Over the last few years, Abafoods has recorded strong growth. In 2013, net revenue amounted to €27 million. For 2014, revenue and EBITDA are expected to increase substantially to around €39 million and €6 million, respectively.

Abafoods is a European expert in organic vegetal drinks. It produces a range of cereal drinks using rice, coconut, almond, oat, spelt and soy. The company has strong R&D capabilities delivering new concepts and innovative packaging. It operates an advanced manufacturing plant in Badia Polesine (Italy) and owns and manages around 400 hectares of organic farm land in Italy to partly grow its raw materials.

Its Isola Bio brand is the leading brand in vegetal drinks in Italian health food stores and is also exported successfully to a wide range of export countries. Next to its own brands, Abafoods currently produces a significant part of non-soy cereal drinks for our Bjorg and Bonneterre brands and it also manufactures for other third parties in Europe.Dairy alternatives & vegetal drinks are a core category in the market for healthy, sustainable and organic food. Category growth rates have been double-digit and are predicted to remain at this level for the years to come. This is driven by an ever-increasing number of people that have to and/or want to avoid dairy products.

Key consumer motivators are lactose intolerance, vegetarian and vegan life styles, general improvement of well-being and health and the desire to make a positive contribution to a healthier planet.

Christophe Barnouin (CEO of Wessanen): "The acquisition of Abafoods is a major step in the execution of our strategy. Abafoods unique expertise in dairy alternatives will strengthen our R&D and production capabilities to fuel the growth of our brands in Europe, as well as Isola Bio, in this core category.

It also gives us critical mass in Italy - a large and growing organic market in Europe - with a leading brand position thanks to Isola Bio.

Finally, it reinforces our commitment to organic: Abafoods, like Wessanen, are two companies, where we commit to organic food and sustainable farming."

Almut Steinhuisen (President of Abafoods): "At Abafoods, we have a rich and successful history in developing organic plant-based drinks based on almond, rice, soy and various cereals. Our brands, products and philosophy are complementary to these of Wessanen.

Since 1998 all our products have been certified as organic, which we feel is the most fundamental quality requirement. Since we are what we drink, we can hardly speak of quality of food unless we respect the Earth and pay attention to all environmental issues. It is with great pleasure to acknowledge that most Wessanen brands have an even longer history in championing organic food."

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