MONTERREY, MEXICO — Fomento Económico Mexicano, S.A.B. de C.V. (FEMSA) on July 5 announced it has reached a binding agreement with Valora Holding AG under which Monterrey-based FEMSA will acquire Valora in a transaction valued at about $1.2 billion.
Based in Muttenz, near Basel in northern Switzerland, Valora operations include a large global artisan pretzel business, one that has been expanding in the United States in recent years.
Under the acquisition agreement, FEMSA will launch a public tender cash offer to acquire all of Valora’s publicly held shares for 260 Swiss francs ($269) per share.
Both FEMSA and Valora have a large presence in the convenience store market. FEMSA operates the largest convenience store chain in Mexico and Latin America. Nearly 22,000 OXXO stores are operated in Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Peru. FEMSA’s other businesses also include bottling of Coca-Cola products, and the company is a major shareholder of the Heineken Group.
Valora, with annual sales of about 2.2 billion Swiss francs ($2.3 billion) operates 2,700 small-scale points of sale with c-store open and food kiosks under the various banners including ServiceStoreDB, U-Store, K Kiosk and Super Guud.
“Having built a significant store base and convenience and logistics expertise in Latin America during the past four decades, FEMSA has been looking for a platform to grow and develop our proximity retail business in markets outside of Latin America,” said Daniel Rodriguez, FEMSA chief executive officers. “Valora has earned an excellent reputation in the international convenience and food service business with its sophisticated concept of innovative formats at high-traffic locations, and we look forward to further expanding on this strategy with the continued support of Valora’s management, who will together with the Valora team members play a key role in our plans for the company’s future.”
Since 2012, Valora has owned Ditsch, a maker of lye pretzels. Ditsch kiosks offer pretzels, other lye bread specialties, pizza snacks, croissants and beverages. FEMSA said Valora “benefits from a well-integrated value chain in the area of baked goods.”
In the United States, Valora expanded in 2017 with the acquisition of Pretzel Baron, based in Cincinnati. It’s products, which include artisan pretzels, pretzel bites, pretzel buns and pretzel sticks, are sold to retail and foodservice customers.
In its most recent annual report, Valora said Ditsch USA sales in March-December 2021 nearly doubled from the year before. Globally, Valora said it produced 730 million pieces of baked products for 30 countries in 2021.
Michael Mueller, chief executive officer of Valora, in the annual report touted Ditsch USA gains in 2021, adding, “The US in particular offers further growth opportunities in an attractive market, so that we will continue to expand our capacities there in 2022.”
In Europe, Valora sells pretzels under the Ditsch and Brezelkonig brands. Valora has owned Brezelkonig since 2012.