Valeo closing in on €1bn sales barrier after agreeing €73m deal for Kettle crisps

Acquisition is the 12th in the nine years since it was founded

Valeo Foods, the acquisitive Dublin food group that owns Batchelors beans and Jacobs biscuits, is bearing down on the €1 billion annual sales barrier, after agreeing a deal to buy a UK and Europe division of Kettle crisps from Campbell Soup for £66 million (€73 million).

Valeo, backed by Cavan financier Seamus Fitzpatrick, has reached terms with Campbell to buy the UK company Kettle Foods and a Dutch company, Yellow Snacks.

The deal includes the Kettle and Go Pure snack brands, as well as Metcalfe’s Skinny Popcorn. The operations transferring to Valeo employ 500 staff in the UK and Netherlands. Campbell will retain the Kettle brand and operations in all regions outside of Europe and the Middle East.

The acquisition is the 12th for Valeo in the nine years since the ambient foods group was founded with financial backing from Mr Fitzpatrick’s Capvest private equity group.

Other brands

Its other brands include Rowse Honey, Barratt sweets, Fox’s Glacier Mints and Italian biscuit brand, Balconi. It also owns Chef sauce and Odlums flour.

Valeo has annual sales of about €850 million, while the Kettle operations it is buying have sales of €115 million, bringing total group revenues up to around €965 million, assuming the acquisition is cleared by competition regulators.

"The global snacking segment continues to grow and the proposed acquisition of Kettle Foods provides a great opportunity to further strengthen our expanding portfolio of international brands," said Valeo chief executive Seamus Kearney, who was formerly a senior executive at Aer Lingus.

Mark Paul

Mark Paul

Mark Paul is Business Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times. He also writes the Caveat column