The price paid for the business remains undisclosed, as do the terms of the deal and how it will affect staff. But, a spokesman for Honeytop described it as “a done deal” and said the speciality producer would form part of the European food division of Aryzta.
There are clear synergies between the two businesses. Aryzta, which was born out of a merger of international bakery group IAWS Group and Hiestand Holdings in 2008, describes itself as a leader in speciality baking. Its businesses include retail brand Cuisine de France and foodservice supplier Delice de France.
Aryzta, which has headquarters in Zurich, also has a North American food division. Honeytop has declared intentions to target that market for future development.
The Swiss firm’s aggressive acquisition strategy has been well-documented in recent years. In the nine months ending April 30 2011, it posted 11% value growth in European food sales; 136% food sales growth in North America and 548% sales growth in the rest of the world.
The vast majority of growth in each division came through acquisitions and disposals. Its overall food sales for the period rose by 60.6% to €1.94bn.
Aryzta chief executive Owen Killian, speaking after the firm’s latest financial results in June, said: “We have doubled bakery output as a result of the acquisitions announced just one year ago resulting in a 55% increase in food revenue in the nine months while maintaining continued investment grade status.” Full year financial figures are expected soon.
Honeytop, whose customers include major supermarkets and brands such as Sharwoods, makes authentic naan, tortillas, pancakes, crumpets and a range of flatbreads at its UK production base in Dunstable, Bedfordshire.
It branched out into tortillas in 2008. A spokesman told FoodManufacture.co.uk in June that it had increased production of tortillas and extended life naans by 50%. It boasts “the biggest, fastest” automated tortilla line in the world.
The company commands more than half of the UK own-label tortilla market and exports to 10 European markets. It has plans to open a £3M naan bread and chapatti factory near Mumbai in India to serve growing demand there and in Asia and Australia.