Buying binge continues for Hain Celestial

by Staff
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LAKE SUCCESS, N.Y. – The shopping spree continues for the Hain Celestial Group, Inc., who announced May 2 the latest in a string of strategic acquisitions. The company has purchased Ella’s Kitchen Group, Ltd., a maker of organic baby food with 80 products offered in the United Kingdom, the United States and Scandinavia. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

The purchase poises Hain Celestial to expand its global presence in the category. Ella’s Kitchen generated approximately $70 million in sales in 2012 and is expected to be accretive to Hain Celestial’s earnings in fiscal 2014.

Over the past several years, Hain Celestial has closed on a number of strategic acquisitions that have helped drive the company to record sales in recent periods.

In December, Hain Celestial closed on its acquisition of BluePrint, a New York-based marketer and manufacturer of raw, organic cold-pressed fruit and vegetable juices and juice beverages.

Last year also marked the company’s purchases of the Cully & Sully brand of chilled soups in Ireland and U.K.-based Premier Foods’ portfolio of packaged grocery brands, including Hartley’s, Sun-Pat, Gale’s Robertson’s and Frank Cooper’s brands and peanut butter, honey, jams, fruit and jelly, marmalade and chocolate product offerings. Consideration in the latter deal consisted of £170 million in cash and 836,426 shares of Hain Celestial common stock.

In 2011, Hain Celestial acquired Europe’s Best brand of frozen fruit and vegetable products in Canada. Hain Celestial also picked up the Daniels Group, a U.K.-based maker of chilled foods with brands that include New Convent Soup Co. chilled soups, Johnson’s Juice Co. orange juice and Farmhouse Fare desserts, as well as prepared fruit products and chilled ready meals. Consideration in the transaction consisted of cash at closing amounting to approximately $230 million.

Hain Celestial in 2010 padded its portfolio with 3 Greek Gods L.L.C., including the Greek Gods brand of Greek-style yogurt, and World Gourmet Marketing L.L.C., including its Sensible Portions brand of Garden Veggie Straws, Pita Bites and other snack products. The company that year also bought Churchill Food Products Ltd., a manufacturer and distributor of food-to-go products in the U.K. Financial terms of each deal were not disclosed.

In addition to expanding its international footprint, the company’s overall strategy of acquisitions helped contribute to a 44% increase in income during fiscal 2012.

More growth may be in store for the coming year. During a Feb. 5 call with financial analysts, Irwin Simon, founder and chief executive officer, revealed plans to add more brands.

“We have identified three or four other good niche acquisitions that are in the $25 million, $30 million range that we think are categories that we are not in today, and being part of Hain, we think we can take them to a whole other level,” Mr. Simon said.
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