SPAIN – Nestlé has agreed to sell a 60% stake of its packaged meat business, Herta to Casa Tarradellas and create a joint venture with the Spanish food company.

Nestle will subsequently hold a 40% stake in the joint venture while Casa Tarradellas will control a 60% stake in Herta. Closing of the transaction is anticipated to take place in the first half of 2020.

The joint venture includes Herta’s cold cuts and meat-based products available in six European countries, as well as the its dough business in France and Belgium.

According to the terms of the agreement, Nestlé will retain and develop its existing Herta vegetarian business, in line with its increased focus on plant-based offerings.

Nestlé already offers a wide range of plant-based products, including through Garden Gourmet in Europe and Sweet Earth in the US.

The joint venture will build on the brand’s significant presence and leadership position in several European countries. It will benefit from the complementary strengths and innovation expertise of both parties in order to continue the successful development of Herta in Europe.

Marco Settembri, Executive Vice President, Chief Executive Officer Zone Europe, Middle East and North Africa, Nestlé, said: “The Herta business has delivered strong performance over the past years and is well-positioned for future growth.

“We are happy to have Casa Tarradellas as our partner, a family-run business that is a market leader in Spain for pizza, fresh dough and charcuterie.

“Both companies have a true passion for quality and innovation and are proud to be in a joint venture to provide our consumers with great ingredients for their daily meals.”

The joint venture will be incorporated in Spain. Operations will continue to be managed by the existing local Herta businesses in France, Germany, Belgium (also covering Luxembourg) and the United Kingdom (also covering Ireland).

Nestle said that the deal will ensure the continuity of production sites and the current structure of the business, including its employees.

Meanwhile, the company has invested €11 million (US$12.29m) in a new production line for organic baby snacks in its Avanca factory in Portgual, to meet increased global consumer demand.  

The new production line will manufacture organic baby snacks, including Natures Bio NutriPuffs and Cerelac, in 100% recyclable packaging.

The investment is part of the €40 million (US$44.69m) total budget given to Nestlé Portugal to use in its Avanca and Porto units, the latter of which makes coffee beans, over the next 20 months.