Sara Lee Australia finds a new owner | 2021-08-25

CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND – New Zealand investor group South Island Office (SIO) has entered into an agreement to acquire the Sara Lee desserts and pastries business in Australia from McCain Foods (Aust) Pty. Ltd. is part of a partial management buyout with current managing director Sara Lee, were not disclosed.

Once finalized, the transaction will combine Sara Lee with Christchurch-based bakery company Original Foods Baking Co., which SIO acquired in February.

McCain acquired the Sara Lee business from Hillshire Brands Co. in 2013 for approximately $ 85 million. At the time, the move was described as a way for McCain to expand its product line through desserts, meals, and snacks. As part of his strategy to grow the Sara Lee business, McCain appointed Mark Mackaness as a dedicated managing director in 2019 to develop a self-sustaining business capacity, operating independently of McCain and enabling a relatively seamless transition of the business. Then, in October 2020, McCain hired an investment banker to auction the Sara Lee business.

Following the acquisition of Sara Lee by SIO, Mr. Mackaness will become a partner and CEO of the group. Sara Lee’s leadership team will remain with the company, enabling continuity for teams, customers and suppliers, SIO said.

“Sara Lee is almost completely complementary to Original Foods Baking Co.,” Mr. Mackaness said. “Original Foods Baking Co. is already expanding into Australia and beyond with its line of brownies, slices, bites and more. At Sara Lee, we’ve built an iconic Australian bakery brand, and our quality ice cream, cheesecakes, apple pies, danishes and puddings have been household favorites in Australia and New Zealand for 50 years.

“This partnership allows the two companies to gain exposure to new channels and markets as we have different strengths in the retail and restaurant business in Australia and New Zealand. Sara Lee celebrated our 50th anniversary in June and Original Foods Baking Co. celebrated its 30th anniversary the same month, so it looks like we’ve been aligned in our love of baking for many years. Our teams are a natural fit.

“Since 2013, McCain has invested over A $ 40 million in Sara Lee’s product innovation and infrastructure to build a successful and well-managed business ready for growth and the future, so we will look to continue. to innovate and sustain our growth journey from day one. I am excited and confident about Sara Lee’s future with Original Foods Baking Co. We will continue to operate independently, employing locally and providing customers with the same quality line. As such, although we are not looking for immediate “synergies”, our activities complement each other perfectly, so we will seek partnership opportunities for continued growth. “

Mr Mackaness said the Sara Lee factory in Lisarow, NSW was built in 1971 next to orchards, where she sourced oranges for the famous Sara Lee orange cake. Today, Sara Lee still sources 90% of its ingredients locally, while also employing 220 people in the region.

“The future is bright for Sara Lee,” Mackaness said. “The union of two large bakery companies that will work together to become the leading supplier of frozen bakery products in Australia and New Zealand is really exciting. We will be reinvesting in the Sara Lee brand to continue bringing Australian and Kiwi consumers the classics they love, as well as many new products to come. It’s important to note that Sara Lee has been an integral part of the Central Coast food making landscape for 50 years at Lisarow Bakery, and we hope that continues well into the future.


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