Post ‘activates’ acquisition strategy

by Eric Schroeder
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ST. LOUIS — The purchase of Attune Foods in December and some of Hearthside Food Solutions assets earlier this month are part of Post Holdings, Inc.’s “proactive acquisition” strategy, said Terry Block, president and chief operating officer of Post, in a May 13 conference call to discuss second-quarter earnings.

Mr. Block said Post in recent years has built cash to “activate” this strategy when appropriate. In December 2012, Post acquired San Francisco-based Attune Foods, a move he said gives Post a branded platform of non-bioengineered and organic cereals and snacks. Meanwhile, the just announced purchase of the organic and natural cereal granola and snacks business of Hearthside Food Solutions “greatly enhances that platform,” he said.

“They’re (Hearthside) a provider of cereals, granolas and snacks to a diverse customer base in the natural, specialty and conventional channels, consisting of proprietary brands and significant private label brands serving the portfolio of preeminent, specialty and conventional retailers,” Mr. Block said. “The Attune brands, Erewhon and Uncle Sam’s, together with the Golden Temple brand, Peace Cereal brand, Sweet Home Farm granola brand, and Willamette Valley brand snacks, afford Post an improved footprint and the opportunity to participate in the higher-growth, organic, all-natural, non-G.M.O. verified cereal and adjacent categories.”
Mr. Block added Post “will continue to aggressively acquire new private label customers, further solidifying their vendor leadership position in the category while potentially adding the ability to represent the Post R.-T.-E. private label capabilities to their arsenal and client list.”

The Hearthside Food assets will be combined with the Attune brands and will operate under the Attune banner, Mr. Block said.

“It’s anticipated that the expanded Attune Foods business will add approximately $4 million to $5 million, and $17 million to $19 million, respectively, to EBITDA in fiscal years 2013 and 2014,” he said. “We fully intend to operate this specialty business independent from our Post R.-T.-E. cereal business located in New Jersey, striving for focus, growth and effectiveness.”

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