The biscuit company has acquired all of the shares in Lotus Bakeries Italia
Lotus Bakeries chief executive Jan Boone

Biscuit manufacturer Lotus Bakeries has gained full control of Lotus Bakeries Italia, a joint venture it formed in 2019 with its Italian distributor Lona to focus exclusively on marketing Lotus Bakeries brands.

From the outset, Lotus Bakeries owned the majority of shares in the joint venture with an option to acquire all of the shares.

Jan Boone, chief executive of Lotus Bakeries, said the acquisition of full control over its entity in Italy, the company will move forward with a new strategy to win market share. “With the necessary focus and support from the rest of the group, a team of Lotus Bakeries employees based in our offices in Milan, we will be able to take the next steps to increase market penetration in this country.”

Italy is one of the most important consumer markets in Europe, and a country with plenty of potential for Lotus Bakeries. Lotus Bakeries has developed the market together with its distribution partner.

The company said it will continue to collaborate with Lona, in particular for warehousing and distribution services.

Lotus Bakeries: Steady growth

Lotus Bakeries reported an 8.3% growth in 2020 with consolidated turnover of €663.3 million, and recurrent EBITDA of €135.6 million, up 9.8% from 2019.

The company explained this growth is mainly due to double-digit growth of Lotus Biscoff, the company’s first and largest brand. The company accelerated its internationalisation in many countries, and entered new regions including Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, UAE, Morocco, Egypt, Turkey and Canada. Last year also saw the debut of the Lotus Biscoff Sandwich Cookie line to the range, joining the brand’s spread and ice cream product.

Growth in 2020 also came in through acquisitions. In June Lotus acquired 97.9% controlling stake in healthy snack bars manufacturer Natural Balance Foods, the parent company of Nakd and Trek brands.

Although Lotus reported sales from this vertical drop with the onset of Covid-19, the portfolio brands regained 2019 sales levels by the second half of the year.

Lotus also reported growth in its home markets of Belgium, the Netherlands, France and Sweden from its specialities brand, notably a 20% growth from Annas Pepparkakor in Sweden.

Corporate venture capital

Fast Forward 2032, the corporate venture capital arm that Lotus launched in 2019 with €40 million of investment capital, has invested in three brands since its inception – UK company Peter’s Yard, the maker of sourdough crackers and crispbread; Love Brands, marketing crunchy corn snacks in the US and the UK; and Partake Foods, a US challenger brand that makes allergen-free cookies.

Lotus Bakeries said the investment focus of FF2032 is also on companies with sustainable packaging solutions for the food sector. This is a major concern for the company as it has pledged to only using recyclable packaging on all of its products by 2025.

Date published: 30 March 2021

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