Glanbia acquires Watson for $89 million, broadens ingredients footprint

By Hank Schultz

- Last updated on GMT

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Getty Images
Irish dairy and ingredients conglomerate Glanbia has continued its diversification into the ingredients space with the acquisition of US firm Watson for a reported $89 million.

Watson provides a wide range of food and dietary supplement ingredients. That includes a full line of spray dried nutrients, a selection of chelated minerals, custom nutrient premixes and micro encapsulation capabilities.

Glanbia has been in acquisition mode for a while now.  In October of last year it acquired the meal replacement shake maker SlimFast for a reported $340 million (300 million Euros). Also in 2017 the company acquired Amazing Grass, which has a portfolio of organic and non GMO brands in the plant based nutrition, ‘Greens’ and ‘super food’ categories and Dutch direct-to-consumer brand which is focused on performance nutrition.

Glanbia announced the acquisition in conjunction with the release of its year end financial statement today. ‘Wholly owned’ revenue was reported to be €2.4 billion ($2.7 billion), up 4% year over year on a constant currency basis.  Earnings were up 9% when currency adjustments were applied.  The announcement also presages the company's exhibit at the Natural Products Expo West trade show in Anaheim, CA, where it will occupy booth No. 1442.

Mixed results in nutritionals

Glanbia’s ingredient divisions provided mixed results. Glanbia Performance Nutrition delivered revenue growth of 9.5% on a constant currency basis, while Glanbia Nutritionals revenue declined 0.6% on a constant currency basis, while its earnings increased 3% when currency fluctuations were taken into account.

“I am pleased to announce 9.0% growth in pro-forma adjusted earnings per share, constant currency, for Glanbia for 2018. This was largely driven by strong volume growth across our business, in particular in the branded portfolio of GPN and the Nutritional Solutions component,” ​said Siobhán Talbot, group managing director.

Talbot said the Watson acquisition will further cement Glanbia’s position as a broad-based ingredients supplier.

“It is a highly complementary addition to our Nutritional Solutions business and will help broaden our capabilities in the ingredients sector,”​ she said.

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