Apetit PLC: agrees on sale of Grain Trade business to Berner

Helsinki / FI. (apg) Finland’s Apetit Group has agreed to sell its Grain Trade business to Berner Limited. Berner is a Finnish family company with a strong position in the Finnish agricultural trade. In 2018, Apetit Group’s subsidiary Avena Nordic Grain Oy and Berner Oy started close cooperation as Farmer’s Avena Berner. The operating model was based on a partnership and a common field organisation for production input and grain trade.

The transaction will be carried out as a business transfer including Avena’s Finnish grain trade business as well as its grain stocks and port operations in Finland. Avena’s grain trade employees will be transferred to Berner as existing employees.

The agreed acquisition price is about EUR 4 million added by the value of the transferring inventory. The acquisition price is paid in cash at the time of the sale. The sale is expected to take place during the second quarter. The sale requires approval by the competition authority. Apetit will make a non-recurring gain of about EUR 2 million after tax on the sale. This gain will be allocated to the second quarter. The transaction’s final effect on the result will become clearer once it has been completed.

In 2021, the net sales of Apetit’s entire Grain Trade business were EUR 164.5 million, of which the share of Finnish operations was EUR 73 million. The Grain Trade business had 51 employees in 2021.

Apetit will report the entire Grain Trade business as a discontinued operation starting from the Q1/2022 business review.

In December, Apetit’s subsidiary Avena Nordic Grain agreed to sell the Baltic operations of its Grain Trade business to Scandagra Group. The conditions of the sale concerning the Estonian company have been fulfilled and the sale was completed on 10 March 2022. The sale of the Lithuanian company’s business is waiting for the approval of the local competition authority. The transaction is expected to be completed during the first quarter of 2022. The transactions are expected to have a positive effect on Apetit Group’s annual operating profit.

Esa Mäki: Chief Executive of Apetit PLC: «Apetit’s strategic goal has been to develop its trade capabilities in the grain trade. As a result of changes in the operating environment and the market situation, reaching the goal has been challenging, which has unfortunately had a negative effect on the performance of the Grain Trade business. I believe that Berner is in a good position with synergies to continue developing the business. Once completed, the divestment of the Grain Trade business will improve Apetit’s profitability and allow us to focus on growing and developing our processing businesses, meaning the Food Solutions and Oilseed Products businesses.»

Antti Korpiniemi, Chief Executive of Berner Limited: «Acquiring Apetit’s Grain Trade business gives us the opportunity to grow our agricultural trade value chain in Finland. We believe that this transaction, together with our existing expertise, creates significant added value for the development of our entire production input and grain trade business as well as for increasing our competitiveness.»