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Nestlé to offload more sweet brands

Business

A week after offloading its Violet Crumble product to South Australian company Robern Menz, Swiss food and drink giant Nestlé is set to sell its US candy business.

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Nestlé will sell the business to Italy’s Ferrero for about $US2.9 billion ($A4.1 billion) in cash.

Ferrero will take over iconic chocolate brands Butterfinger and Crunch bars, as well as the sugary Nerds, SweeTarts and FunDip.

After a review of its portfolio last summer, Nestlé hinted that it might sell its US business, with its eye on higher-growth areas like pet care, coffee and infant nutrition.

In September, Nestlé announced that it bought a majority stake in Blue Bottle Coffee, a high-end coffee company. Other Nestle brands include Purina, Gerber and Stouffer’s.

Nestlé, based in Switzerland, says its US candy business accounts for about 3 per cent of its US division’s sales.

The deal is expected to close at the end of the first quarter.

Last week, Adelaide confectionery company Robern Menz announced it had signed an agreement to buy the Violet Crumble brand from Nestlé, with the help of $1.65 million in grant and loan funding from South Australian taxpayers.

Robern Menz CEO Phil Sims said at the time that Nestlé had offloaded the product because it wasn’t a global brand and denied any suggestion that Violet Crumble had been a poor performer.

“It’s been a fantastic performer over 100 years,” said Sims.

“Nestlé’s focus as the world’s largest food business is on global brands … the directive is to focus on those global brands.

– with AP

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