STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN — Lantmännen Unibake, a global bread and baked foods supplier, has sold 51% of its Japanese sales company to Nichirei Foods Inc. and all of its Korean sales company to a local management team, moves Lantmännen said will allow it to focus its investments in Europe and North America.
Nichirei Foods Inc. is one of the largest distributors of frozen foods in Japan and expects to double Lantmännen’s Japanese sales within the next two to three years.
The agreement with Nichirei Foods means that the products of Lantmännen Unibake will be marketed through the network of Nichirei Foods, supplying products to the major retailers, food service industry and the major international convenience store chains.
“This is the best possible setup for us in Japan,” said Bent Pultz Larsen, chief executive officer of Lantmännen Unibake. “We will have access to a much wider and stronger customer base than we would be able to establish ourselves, and our new partner has profound knowledge of the Japanese market. Furthermore, we will be able to take advantage of Nichirei Foods’ strong competencies in marketing and distribution in Japan as well as in other Asian markets. Our expectations to the cooperation are high, and we feel that Nichirei Foods is a perfect match to our business approach and fundamental values.”
In Korea, Lantmännen Unibake sold its Korean sales company to the local management team, which will continue the business as sole agent of Unibake’s products.
“We decided that it was time to take the next step in the development of our activities in Asia, and with the new business setup in Japan and Korea we have strengthened our position,” Mr. Pultz Larsen said. “Our experience from Asia has been valuable and contributed to increasing our competence. For instance, the Japanese customers’ very strict requirements to food safety have brought us to the very top of the bread industry as regards food safety. We have implemented the Japanese standards in most of our bakeries and in this way moved ahead of the competitors.”
Owned by Swedish farmers through the Lantmännen group, Lantmännen Unibake operates bakeries in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Poland, Belgium, Germany, Russia, United Kingdom and the United States. The company’s U.S. site is located in Lisle, Ill.
The company’s brand portfolio consists of: Hatting, Schulstad, Schulstad Bake Off, Schulstad Royal Danish Pastry, Pastridor, Korvbrödsbagarn, Paaskebrod and Skoga.