H.J. Heinz (HNZ) inked a $165 million all-cash deal on Monday to acquire soy-sauce maker Foodstar in an effort to extend the company's reach in fast-growing China.
By scooping up Foodstar from private-equity holding company Transpac Industrial Holdings, Pittsburgh-based Heinz said its annual sales in China would jump to $300 million. In addition to the $165 million cash payout, the deal has a potential earn-out in 2014 based on performance of the business.
Foodstar makes Master Weijixian light premium soy sauce, the leading brand of Weijixian soy sauce in southern China, and a popular Guanghe fermented bean curd. The company has four manufacturing sites, 2,500 employees and is based in Guangzhou.
“Foodstar’s leading brands have strong equity with Chinese consumers and they are a natural fit with our core global capabilities in sauces and condiments,” Heinz CEO William Johnson said in a statement. “The acquisition is another important step in our strategy to accelerate growth in dynamic emerging markets like China, where Heinz is already well positioned with our growing infant nutrition business and Long Fong, a leading brand of frozen dim sum.”
The Foodstar deal is subject to regulatory approval in China and other customary conditions.
Heinz said the retail soy sauce market in China is growing at an annual rate of 7% to 8%, compared to the more developed market in the U.S.
Heinz said it first entered the Chinese market in the 1980s through an infant cereal factory, and that today its emerging market revenue has generated about 30% of its reported sales growth and 15% of its total sales. It sees emerging market revenue generating as much as 25% of its sales by 2016.
Shares of Heinz had a muted reaction to the news, rising 0.54% to $46.50 in the premarkets Monday. The company’s stock has outperformed the broader markets, jumping 30% year-to-date.