` Former Rivals Create 'Global Olive Oil Giant' - Olive Oil Times

Former Rivals Create 'Global Olive Oil Giant'

Oct. 18, 2012
Julie Butler

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A deal between Spanish olive oil titans Deoleo — the global mar­ket leader with brands includ­ing Carbonell, Carapelli and Bertolli — and the Hojiblanca coop­er­a­tive — the world’s biggest extra vir­gin olive oil pro­ducer — was announced today after weeks of rumors.

Hojiblanca will take a 9.63 per­cent stake in Deoleo (for­merly Grupo SOS) in return for trans­fer­ring own­er­ship of its brand and Málaga bot­tling plant to its rival, form­ing what national news­pa­per El País described as a world olive oil giant.”

For the Hojiblanca Group’s pro­duc­ers and coop­er­a­tives it means being part of the world’s top olive oil com­pany.- Hojiblanca state­ment

Deoleo said the asset trans­fer would enhance the range and qual­ity of its lead­ing brands, while Hojiblanca said it would strengthen the global dom­i­nance of Spanish olive oil.

For the Hojiblanca Group’s pro­duc­ers and coop­er­a­tives it means being part of the world’s top olive oil com­pany, with dom­i­nant brands such as Carbonell (leader in Spain’s olive oil seg­ment), Koipe, Carapelli (lead­ing Italian brand) and Bertolli (most-rec­og­nized olive oil brand inter­na­tion­ally and in coun­tries such as the US), which will now be accom­pa­nied by the Hojiblanca brand, Spain’s extra vir­gin mar­ket leader” an Hojiblanca state­ment said today.

The agree­ment is expected to be rat­i­fied at sep­a­rate meet­ings of Deoleo share­hold­ers and of Hojiblanca’s General Assembly — which includes rep­re­sen­ta­tives of its more than 90 pro­ducer coop­er­a­tives in Andalusia — in com­ing weeks.

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The long-rumored deal has been hotly debated within Spain’s olive oil sec­tor lately with some fear­ing an anti-com­pet­i­tive con­cen­tra­tion in the vir­gin sec­tor — espe­cially as Hojiblanca had been tipped to acquire a 30 per­cent stake — and oth­ers see­ing it as likely to strengthen the posi­tion of Spanish olive oil abroad.

In a state­ment today to the Spanish stock mar­ket reg­u­la­tor, Deoleo CEO Jaime Carbó said the deal — involv­ing the issue of new stock to Hojiblanca with a face value of €0.50 — would increase his company’s annual turnover by about €40 mil­lion ($52 mil­lion).

Madrid-based Deoleo’s turnover last year was €960.8 mil­lion ($1.26 bil­lion) and the Málaga-based Hojiblanca group’s was 535.9 mil­lion ($702 mil­lion).

In a state­ment at the end of July, Deoleo said its sales for the first half of 2012, val­ued at €399.3 mil­lion, were down 14 per cent on the same period last year but it had reduced its debt to €639 mil­lion.

El País said Hojiblanca pres­i­dent José Moreno and man­ag­ing direc­tor Antonio Luque were cer­tain to take a seat on the Deoleo board.


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