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GraceKennedy buys American food business for US$26m

Published: 
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Regional conglomerate GraceKennedy, through its wholly-owned subsidiary GraceKennedy Foods (USA) LLC, has entered into an agreement to purchase the operating assets and business of La Fe Foods Inc, including its brand. “La Fe is the top Hispanic brand in the frozen food category in Northeast United States. La Fe Foods Inc, which was established in 1968, currently has revenues of approximately US$80 million and the business being acquired will be the platform for the growth of GraceKennedy’s North American business going forward,” GraceKennedy said in a statement. The acquisition comes at a purchase price of US$26 million. “This acquisition is a major step in achieving our vision of being a Global Consumer Group,” said GraceKennedy Group chief executive officer Don Wehby in the statement. “La Fe was attractive to us for several reasons, including its distribution channels across the East Coast USA and its strong relationships with blue-chip retailers across the US. The company has operations in Moonachie, New Jersey; Miami, Florida and Raleigh, North Carolina, with brand and distribution presence in the New York/Tri-state area, Florida, Georgia and the East Coast. “Our international business started with the Jamaican diaspora. We have served them proudly for a very long time, and we will now be able to serve them even better, while catering to a new market for GraceKennedy as well. We are very excited about this acquisition, which we anticipate will be a serious game changer for our food distribution network,” he said. The company said this strategic acquisition gives it the ability to own its route to market in the US, and presents an opportunity to reach out to consumers in the Hispanic market. GK Foods chief executive officer Michael Ranglin said about the acquisition: “Among the advantages are La Fe’s manufacturing and distribution capability, which can immediately be leveraged. We have also long recognised that the Hispanic food and beverage market is one of the largest growing segments in the food market in the United States. We see this as providing a significant opportunity for growth.” Ranglin will be president and chief executive officer of the newly-formed subsidiary, while Wehby will be chairman of its board. The La Fe transaction is the second major acquisition for GraceKennedy outside of Jamaica for the Foods Division. The first was the acquisition of WT Foods (now Grace Foods UK) in the UK in 2007. Grace Foods UK has shown improved profits and revenue since the 2007 acquisition, the statement said.