USA –The Middleby Corporation, a cooking and industrial process equipment company,  has agreed to acquire foodservice equipment manufacturer Welbilt, for about US$2.9 billion in an all-stock deal to beef up its commercial foodservice platform.

Welbilt provides chefs, premier chain operations and independents with food equipment, beverage dispensing and refrigeration solutions under brands such as Cleveland, Frymaster, Kolpak and Multiplex.

The companies said in a joint statement that the new combined entity will have about US$3.7 billion in combined sales for 2020, of which 73% come from the commercial foodservice segment.

Headquartered in Florida, Welbilt operates 19 manufacturing facilities across the Americas, Europe and Asia. With the acquisition, Middleby will expand its international operations, as well as accelerate its R&D and investment into value-added technologies including ventless cooking, controls, automation and connectivity.

Upon completion, Middleyby shareholders will own approximately 76% and Welbilt shareholders will own approximately 24% of the combined company.

Middleyby has completed over 20 acquisitions since 2018 including Wild Goose Filling and Deutsche Beverage Technology.

“Today’s announcement represents a milestone event for Middleby, Welbilt and the Commercial Foodservice Equipment industry,” said Middleby CEO, Timothy FitzGerald.

“The combination of our two great companies creates a leading player with a comprehensive product line, global footprint and advanced technologies and solutions that are well positioned to serve our rapidly changing customer needs and capitalise on emerging industry trends.”

The deal is expected to close in late 2021, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory shareholder approval.

Meanwhile in China, Finnish based global food packaging specialist, Huhtamaki has agreed to acquire Jiangsu Hihio-Art Packaging, in a €27 million (about US$37.49 million) debt-free transaction.  

Founded in 2004, Jiangsu Hihio-Art Packaging manufacturers paper bags, wraps and folding carton packaging for international quick-service restaurants, bakeries and patisseries, cafés, and most recently supermarkets.

With the acquisition, Huhtamaki aims to strengthen its leading position as a foodservice packaging provider in Asia and expand its portfolio in China to better serve its existing and new customers in the market.

Upon completion, Jiangsu Hihio-Art Packaging will fall under Huhtamaki’s Foodservice Europe-Asia-Oceania reporting segment and its acquisition will increase Huhtamaki’s manufacturing units in China to four.

Earlier this year, Huhtamaki announced it was investing €10 million to transfer its Malaysia manufacturing base from Penang to Port Klang, in order to better serve its customers in Southeast Asia.

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