HANOVER, PA. — Branded salty snacks maker Utz Brands, Inc. remains focused on the long-term health of its brands, prioritizing investments to capitalize on its significant continued and future growth opportunities.
Strategic mergers and acquisitions will play in key role in those growth opportunities, said Dylan B. Lissette, chief executive officer.
“Our scalable platform has proven to generate both meaningful cost and revenue synergies,” Mr. Lissette said during an Aug. 12 conference call with analysts to discuss second-quarter results. “We believe our pure-play snacking focus makes us the logical consolidator in the salty snack category, and there is inherent optionality in our platform as we can consider small tuck-ins, medium-sized acquisitions or potentially larger transformative opportunities.
“We continue to focus our M&A efforts on businesses that will either facilitate geographic expansion, increase our presence in key subcategories or channels and of course, those that deliver strong synergies. Our acquisition pipeline remains very robust, and we will continue to prioritize opportunities that are accretive and strategic to our long-term goals.”
One key acquisition that already is paying dividends is On The Border. Late last year Utz entered the tortilla chip category with the acquisition of Truco Enterprises, which makes products under the On The Border brand. Six months into the integration, Mr. Lissette said Utz is seeing “opportunities abound” for the On The Border brand within the Utz sales platform. A shift from a third-party direct-store delivery distributor to the Utz DSD distribution system is expected to drive even more future gains for the brand.
“It’s important to note that On The Border tortilla chips have only a 50% ACV (all commodity volume), across the US, and we are leveraging the Utz sales force and route-to-market system to drive increasing growth and unlock revenue synergies,” he said. “And we are seeing new distribution for On The Border across multiple channels such as grocery, drug, convenience and dollar in our core Utz geographies, which remain a big revenue opportunity for this brand.”
Mr. Lissette said Utz is driving manufacturing efficiencies within its vertical integration initiatives and recently in-sourced some On The Border production into its Hanover plant with future plans to bring even more production into both Birmingham, Ala., in the second half of 2021 and Hanover in the first quarter of 2022 to support this elevated demand and complement its current co-manufacturing network.
New categories also are an opportunity for On The Border. Mr. Lissette announced that Utz will be test marketing On The Border soft tortillas in a subset of a national retailer stores.
“We believe the On The Border brand equity can expand into the growing $1.9 billion soft tortilla market, and we look forward to seeing the results,” he said. “In short, we are very excited about the opportunities the On The Border brand will continue to bring to our portfolio across all of our geographies.”
Net income at Utz Brands in the second quarter ended July 4 totaled $16.18 million, equal to 22¢ per share on the common stock, up sharply from $6.55 million in the same period a year ago. Net sales were $297.92 million, up 23% from $241.98 million.