Kellogg said Thursday it will acquire a controlling stake in Brazilian snack maker Parati Group for $429 million in another move to expand into emerging markets amid sluggish U.S. growth.
Roughly half of Parati’s business consists of Parati, Pádua, Minueto, Zoo Cartoon and Hot Cracker biscuits. It also makes Trink powdered beverages, Parati Lamen instant noodles and Parati dried pasta.
Kellogg, which is buying Ritmo Investimentos, Parati’s controlling shareholder, said the all-cash deal furthers its strategic goals of becoming a global snacking powerhouse and expanding its presence in emerging markets.
“With its outstanding portfolio of popular consumer brands, Parati Group is an excellent strategic fit for Kellogg and our business in Latin America,” CEO John Bryant said in a news release. “Brazil is the largest economy in Latin America and this acquisition will allow us to accelerate our growth and improve our margins in the region.”
The acquisition is Kellogg’s fourth in emerging markets in the past two years and its biggest in Latin America. Among other deals, it bought 50% of Nigerian food distributor Multipro for $450 million and acquired Egyptian cereal company Mass Food Group.
“With prepackaged food facing sluggish growth in the U.S., many cereal and snacking companies are heading abroad to reach increasingly urban and middle class consumers in emerging markets,” The Wall Street Journal reported.
Parati Group has 3,200 employees, including a salesforce of approximately 1,300 people serving about 60,000 customers directly. It has a strong presence in small to medium — or high-frequency — retail stores in Brazil, which, according to Kellogg, are critical to reaching the country’s growing population.
But with Brazil going through a historic recession, InvestorPlace suggested the deal is not without risk. “While it is true that consumer staples don’t suffer to the same degree as cyclical companies might when an economy is in the doldrums, when the situation is as dire as it still is in Brazil, few industries truly thrive,” it said.
“Kellogg, however, may be pulling the trigger at an ideal time,” InvestorPlace added.