Chinese firm to buy majority share in Northamptonshire cereal giant Weetabix

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One of China’s largest food companies has agreed to buy a majority share of Weetabix for £1.2 billion.

Bright Food expects to buy 60 per cent of the Burton Latimer-based company later this year, subject to regulatory and government approvals in China and anti-trust approvals.

Lion Capital, the American finance firm which owns the 80-year-old cereal manufacturer, which also has a plant on the Earlstree Industrial Estate, Corby, will keep a 40 per cent share.

Bright Food chairman Zongnan Wang said: “As a leading business in China’s food industry, we are delighted to become the majority shareholder in Weetabix. This company has an excellent portfolio of brands including the famous British cereal brand, Weetabix, and also other category-leading brands such as Alpen and Ready brek. With its best in class production standards and excellent track record for innovation, the business is poised to achieve strong and sustainable long term revenue and profit growth.

“We are excited by the many growth opportunities for the business, especially in international markets, and Asia in particular. With Bright Food’s strong resources and our expertise in both the Chinese and broader international markets, we are excellently placed to develop the Weetabix business. We value the expertise of Weetabix’s management and employees and look forward to collaborating with them and Lion Capital to realise the full global potential of the Weetabix family of brands.”

The transaction will represent the largest overseas acquisition by a Chinese company in the food and beverage sector. The purchase also supports Bright Food’s strategy of buying famous international brands, developing advanced technology and taking strong competitive positions in each of its markets.

Bright Food said it hopes to drive the global growth and success of Weetabix, with a focus on the potential in Asia and especially in China, to take advantage of the growing appetite in the country for packaged and convenient healthy foods.