The transaction, which is subject to Dutch competition authority and works council approval, would boost Hilton's presence in multiple protein categories. It follows its acquisitions of vegan and vegetarian food manufacturer Dalco and Fairfax Meadow in the past three months and its expansion into Hilton Seafood, together with several years of sustained growth in seafood and plant-based foods by the business.
Hilton part-funded this latest acquisition by an equity placing to raise gross proceeds of £75m, some of which would also partially finance the Fairfax Meadow acquisition.
Hilton said Foppen's smoked salmon offer diversified Hilton into a protein category with a strong growth outlook. Foppen is focused on added-value speciality smoked salmon products, for example toast salmon, offering a differentiated portfolio of products. The newly acquired business is expected to open up new customers for Hilton in the US - a new strategic market for it.
Develop relationship with Albert Heijn
Taking over Foppen would also help develop Hilton's existing customer relationship with Albert Heijn in the Netherlands and offer significant cross-selling opportunities to Hilton and Foppen’s international customer bases, according to Hilton.
Foppen is also expected to significantly expand the scale of Hilton’s seafood business with potential to deliver procurement and other savings. It brings two well-invested, dedicated smoked salmon facilities in Harderwijk, the Netherlands and Preveza, Greece, and an experienced management team and workforce.
Conversely, Hilton said Foppen stood to benefit from Hilton’s exceptional seafood standards and record. It said 98% of all its fisheries were certified as sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council. Hilton is an active member of the UN Global Compact and its Sustainable Ocean Business Action Platform, and has governance roles on leading global standards bodies such as the Marin Trust, Global Gap and the Responsible Fishing Vessel Scheme.
Foppen's financial figures
In the year ended 31 March 2021, Foppen generated revenue of €139.7m and adjusted underlying earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of €10m.
“The acquisition of Foppen is an exceptional opportunity for Hilton and another step towards our goal of becoming the global protein partner of choice," Hilton’s chief executive officer Philip Heffer said. "More and more consumers around the world are seeking affordable, high quality, and sustainable protein, and this acquisition will help Hilton take our offer into new markets and to new global customers for the first time.
“Foppen’s premium product portfolio and strong customer relationships are a great fit for Hilton’s model, while Hilton’s strong ESG [environmental, social and governance] credentials in seafood will make sure our future growth plans are sustainable in every sense of the word."
Foppen CEO Andre van der Padt added: “Foppen’s offer to customers, suppliers and employees will be enhanced as part of Hilton Food Group.”