MONTRÉAL — Saputo Inc. (“we”, “Saputo” or “the Company”) (TSX: SAP) announces today that it has entered into an agreement to acquire the activities of Wensleydale Dairy Products Limited (“Wensleydale Dairy Products”). The business, which will join Saputo’s Dairy Division (UK) under its Europe Sector, operates two facilities located in North Yorkshire and employs approximately 210 people.
The purchase price of GBP 23 million (approximately CDN$39 million), on a cash-free and debt-free basis, will be paid in cash at closing.
Wensleydale Dairy Products manufactures, blends, markets, and distributes a variety of specialty and regional cheeses, including Yorkshire Wensleydale cheese, which will complement and broaden the Company’s existing range of British cheeses, including Cathedral City and Davidstow cheddars. The business sources its milk from 40 local farms and uses its own unique cheesemaking starter cultures. With this strategic acquisition, Saputo is pleased to add another leading and prominent UK cheese brand to its portfolio. Wensleydale Dairy Products’ range of cheeses is also exported around the world.
“Wensleydale Dairy Products is home to an immense amount of passion, care, and tradition,” said Lino A. Saputo, Chair of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, Saputo Inc. “Not only is it a well-established British business with high-quality products and award-winning cheeses, but our corporate cultures are well-aligned, and I’m delighted to welcome the entire team into the Saputo family.”
Subject to UK regulatory requirements, the transaction is expected to close in the second half of July 2021.
Saputo produces, markets, and distributes a wide array of dairy products of the utmost quality, including cheese, fluid milk, extended shelf-life milk and cream products, cultured products, and dairy ingredients. Saputo is one of the top ten dairy processors in the world, a leading cheese manufacturer and fluid milk and cream processor in Canada, the top dairy processor in Australia, and the second largest in Argentina. In the USA, Saputo ranks among the top three cheese producers and is one of the largest producers of extended shelf-life and cultured dairy products. In the United Kingdom, Saputo is the largest manufacturer of branded cheese and a top manufacturer of dairy spreads. Saputo products are sold in several countries under market-leading brands, as well as private label brands. Saputo Inc. is a publicly traded company and its shares are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol “SAP”. Follow Saputo’s activities at Saputo.com or via Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
CAUTION REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
This news release contains statements which are forward-looking statements within the meaning of applicable securities laws. These forward-looking statements include, among others, statements with respect to when we expect to close the relevant transaction and our objectives, outlook, business projects, strategies, beliefs, expectations, targets, commitments, goals, ambitions and strategic plans including our ability to achieve these targets, commitments, goals, ambitions and strategic plans, and statements other than historical facts. The words “may”, “could”, “should”, “will”, “would”, “believe”, “plan”, “expect”, “intend”, “anticipate”, “estimate”, “foresee”, “objective”, “continue”, “propose”, “aim”, “commit”, “assume”, “forecast”, “predict”, “seek”, “project”, “potential”, “goal” or “target”, or the negative of these terms or variations of them, the use of conditional or future tense or words and expressions of similar nature, are intended to identify forward-looking statements. All statements other than statements of historical fact included in this news release may constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of applicable securities laws.
By their nature, forward-looking statements are subject to a number of inherent risks and uncertainties. Actual results could differ materially from those stated, implied or projected in such forward-looking statements. As a result, we cannot guarantee that any forward-looking statements will materialize, and we warn readers that these forward-looking statements are not statements of historical fact or guarantees of future performance in any way. Assumptions, expectations and estimates made in the preparation of forward-looking statements and risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from current expectations are discussed in our materials filed with the Canadian securities regulatory authorities from time to time, including the “Risks and Uncertainties” section of the Management’s Discussion and Analysis dated June 3, 2021, available on SEDAR under Saputo’s profile at www.sedar.com.
Such risks and uncertainties include the following: product liability; the COVID-19 pandemic; the availability of raw materials (including as a result of climate change or extreme weather) and related price variations, along with our ability to transfer those increases, if any, to our customers in competitive market conditions; the price fluctuation of our products in the countries in which we operate, as well as in international markets, which are based on supply and demand levels for dairy products; cyber threats and other information technology-related risks relating to business disruptions, confidentiality, data integrity business and email compromise-related fraud; the increased competitive environment in the dairy industry; consolidation of clientele; supplier concentration; unanticipated business disruption; the economic environment; changes in environmental laws and regulations; the potential effects of climate change; increased focus on environmental sustainability matters; our ability to identify, attract and retain qualified individuals; the failure to adequately integrate acquired businesses in a timely and efficient manner; the failure to execute our global strategic plan as expected; the failure to complete capital expenditures as planned; changes in consumer trends.
Forward-looking statements are based on Management’s current estimates, expectations and assumptions regarding, among other things, the projected revenues and expenses; the economic, industry, competitive and regulatory environments in which we operate or which could affect our activities; our ability to attract and retain customers and consumers; our environmental performance; our sustainability efforts; the effectiveness of our environmental and sustainability initiatives; the availability and cost of milk and other raw materials and energy supplies; our operating costs; the pricing of our finished products on the various markets in which we carry on business; the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic; the successful execution of our global strategic plan; our ability to deploy capital expenditure projects as planned; our ability to correctly predict, identify, and interpret changes in consumer preferences and demand, to offer new products to meet those changes, and to respond to competitive innovation; our ability to leverage our brand value; our ability to drive revenue growth in our key product categories or platforms or add products that are in faster-growing and more profitable categories; the contribution of recent acquisitions; the anticipated market supply and demand levels for dairy products; the anticipated warehousing, logistical and transportation costs; our effective income tax rate; the exchange rate of the Canadian dollar to the currencies of cheese and dairy ingredients.
Management believes that these estimates, expectations and assumptions are reasonable as of the date hereof, and are inherently subject to significant business, economic, competitive and other uncertainties and contingencies regarding future events, including the duration and severity of the COVID-19 pandemic, and are accordingly subject to changes after such date. Forward-looking statements are intended to provide shareholders with information regarding Saputo, including our assessment of future financial plans, and may not be appropriate for other purposes. Undue importance should not be placed on forward-looking statements, and the information contained in such forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as of any other date.
All forward-looking statements included herein speak only as of the date hereof or as of the specific date of such forward-looking statements. Except as required under applicable securities legislation, Saputo does not undertake to update or revise forward-looking statements, whether written or verbal, that may be made from time to time by itself or on our behalf, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. All forward-looking statements contained herein are expressly qualified by this cautionary statement.