Pet food company acquires Danish firm


LONGFORD-BASED pet food manufacturer C&D Foods Group has acquired Danish company Arovit Acquisitions to become the second-biggest private label operator in this sector in Europe.

Speaking to The Irish Times yesterday, Philip Reynolds, chief executive of C&D Foods, said the deal would give the enlarged company turnover of about €320 million this year.

“We will hopefully now have a customer base that stretches right across Europe,” Mr Reynolds said.

The deal is subject to competition clearance in Germany. No acquisition price was disclosed but it is understood that C&D has acquired Arovit’s debts as part of the deal. These are believed to be more than €8 million.

Mr Reynolds said the enlarged business would now rank behind Saturn Pet Foods as the second-biggest private label manufacturer of pet foods.

Arovit was founded in 1969 and has production plants in Denmark, Austria, Spain and Britain. It distributes its products throughout Europe through sales offices in Italy and Germany and employs 620 staff.

Mr Reynolds said Arovit’s product range complements C&D’s and includes cans, pouches, alutrays, dry food and treats. Its brands are Jolly, Wooffy, Naturalise, First Class, Triple Crown and Canter.

It produces 250,000 tonnes of product annually and has a turnover of €200 million. The business has had several owners in the past decade and has not been profitable in recent times.

C&D is buying the business off Kaupthing, an Icelandic financial institution. The deal is a follow-on to the acquisition by C&D of Nestlé’s pet food operations in the Netherlands in 2010.

Mr Reynolds said the Arovit business was a “very good fit” for the Irish company. “We share a lot of similar production technologies but our mix of capacities is different,” he said.

“Arovit brings a whole new customer base which, combined with our manufacturing facilities, provides a very exciting opportunity.”

C&D is a subsidiary of ABP Food Group, which is controlled by beef baron Larry Goodman.

“We’ll amalgamate the two and hopefully one and one mounts up to more than two,” Mr Reynolds said of its latest acquisition.

The combined businesses will have about 1,150 staff. This includes 250 staff in Ireland and about 90 each in Britain and the Netherlands.

C&D was founded in 1969 by former taoiseach Albert Reynolds, father of Philip.

It suffered a major setback in 2006 when a factory in Longford burned down, reducing the company’s turnover from €100 million annually to about €60 million.

“We’ve bounced back,” Mr Reynolds said.