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ABF announces the merger of Jordans and Ryvita

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2 June 2008

Associated British Foods plc (“ABF”), the international food, ingredients and retail group, has today announced that it has reached agreement with UK breakfast cereal and cereal bar business, W Jordan & Son (Silo) Limited (“Jordans”), to merge the Jordans business with its Ryvita crispbread and healthy snacks business. ABF will have a 62% interest in the combined business with the balance held by the existing shareholders of Jordans. The Jordan family will remain fully involved in the business. Completion is subject to certain regulatory clearances and is expected to take place during the third quarter of 2008.

Jordans is a successful and leading breakfast cereal and cereal bar business in the UK. It was founded by the Jordan family from whom ABF acquired a 20% shareholding last year. The Jordans brand has a strong and differentiated consumer position based on its use of natural, organic and Conservation Grade® ingredients. Its products range from breakfast cereals to cereal bars, muesli and oat porridge. The company has three manufacturing sites and has its head office in Biggleswade, Bedfordshire. It had unaudited sales of £85m for the year ended 29 February 2008 and unaudited gross assets of £42m at 29 February 2008.

Ryvita has an 80 year heritage and has become a byword for crispbread. Ryvita is committed to promoting healthy eating and provides a range of healthy snacks utilising wholegrain cereals, which are low in fat and calories. It has successfully extended its brand with the development of a range of healthy snacks including Minis and cereal Goodness bars. It has manufacturing sites in Poole, Dorset and Stockport, Greater Manchester.

The combination of Jordans and Ryvita will create a leading position for the supply of products to meet the increasing consumer demand for natural ingredients and healthy eating. Some cost savings will be achieved and both brands will be developed. The complementary technologies currently used by each business will provide new product opportunities and the increased scale will enable a greater impact in all sales channels particularly in convenience and impulse. Faster overseas expansion of the Jordans brand will be achieved using ABF’s international grocery presence.

Bill Jordan, Chairman of Jordans, said:

“Both David and I believe passionately in making good quality wholegrain cereal to promote the health of our customers and protect the countryside. Jordans and Ryvita have built strong reputations for milling wholegrain cereals and it seems very natural to us that we should form a partnership that draws on these links. From being a small producer promoting whole grains, to what was then a niche group of consumers, Jordans has now reached the point where the benefit of wholegrain cereal is understood by a mainstream, and international, market. This new partnership gives us scale and the ability to share our beliefs, in the benefits of natural foods and protecting the countryside, with even more people.”

George Weston, Chief Executive of Associated British Foods, said:

“I am delighted that the relationship built with the Jordan family over the last year has enabled the merging of these two fine businesses. We are creating a strong new business and I look forward to the further development of both the Jordans and Ryvita brands.”

For further information please contact:

Associated British Foods
John Bason, Finance Director
Tel: 020 7399 6500

Citigate Dewe Rogerson:
Jonathan Clare/Chris Barrie
Tel: 020 7638 9571

 

Notes to Editors

  1. Associated British Foods is a diversified international food, ingredients and retail group with global sales of £6.8 billion and 85,000 employees. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange with a market capitalisation of £6.8 billion. It operates in
    44 countries with significant businesses outside Europe in Southern Africa, the US, China and Australia. Its aim is to achieve strong, sustainable leadership positions in markets that offer potential for profitable growth. It strives to achieve this through a combination of growth of existing businesses, the acquisition of complementary new businesses and achievement of high levels of operating efficiency. The group has established a track record of successful value adding acquisitions including a 51% stake in Illovo Sugar, Africa's biggest cane sugar producer with extensive agricultural and manufacturing operations in six African countries, AB Mauri (its leading international yeast and bakery ingredients business), new stores for Primark and the grocery brands Mazola, Ovaltine and Patak’s.
  2. The Ryvita Company was formed in 1925 and has been producing its famous crispbread in the UK since 1930. Ryvita has its head office and a manufacturing site in Poole, Dorset and a further manufacturing facility in Stockport, Greater Manchester. Ryvita is committed to promoting healthy eating and provides a range of healthy snacks which use wholegrain cereals and are low in fat and calories. It has the leading position in the UK crispbread market and has successfully extended its range into crackers, savoury bagged snacks and cereal bars. Ryvita supports British farming, purchasing 93% of the annual UK rye crop, and mills its rye and wheat at its site in Poole. It exports to over 30 countries around the world and has 300 employees.
  3. The Jordans breakfast cereal business was started by Bill and David Jordan in 1972 and its philosophy is to provide consumers with healthy, natural foods. It has a deep commitment to high quality natural ingredients, specifically Conservation Grade® raw materials, underpinned by a strict policy of using ingredients with no artificial colourings, flavourings or preservatives. Under the Jordans brand name, the business has been very successful and now has a leading position in breakfast cereals and cereal bars in the UK and exports its products to over
    17 countries around the world. The product range spans the crunch, crisp, muesli and hot eating segments of the market. The business is based in Biggleswade, Bedfordshire where it has 350 employees.
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