Lotus Bakeries: to acquire 67% of Natural Balance Foods

Lembeke / BE. (lbbv) Lotus Bakeries Group announces that it has entered into a strategic partnership with Natural Balance Foods (NBF), the pioneering British wholefood company, which is revolutionary within the snacking sector with its range of innovative wholefood bars and snacks, made with 100 percent natural ingredients, sold under the Nakd and Trek brands.

Over the last three years, NBF has grown sales threefold, primarily driven by an explosive demand for its all-natural products across the UK’s major grocery and retail, as increasingly health-conscious consumers gravitate towards healthy and tasty snacking solutions.

Nakd, NBF’s flagship brand, is beloved by consumers for its range of innovative and delicious products, free from gluten, dairy, wheat, and added sugars or syrups. Popular flavours include Cashew Cookie, Cocoa Orange, Cocoa Delight, and Berry Delight.

The business, which has approximately 40 employees, was founded in 2004 by Californian brothers Jamie and Greg Combs, who have successfully led the rapid, mainstream emergence and acceptance of wholefood alternative products. Net Sales Value of NBF for the year to 31st March 2015 was 20 million GBP, and is estimated to be approximately 33 million GBP in the current year.

Lotus has great respect for what has been realised by NBF’s founders and its management team, not only in terms of its growth, which is truly impressive, but particularly by their vision of wholefood snacking. The founders have been pioneers in the UK market by successfully championing a totally innovative snacking philosophy which is natural, unprocessed and extremely tasty.

Lotus and the Founders share the same ambitions to further grow the Nakd and Trek brands, by growing the UK market and continuing targeted international expansion. Lotus has strong knowledge and long experience in internationalising consumer goods. Through the multiple Lotus sales offices in over 15 countries NBF will have access to new markets and resources as well as an excellent platform to further grow outside the UK bringing wholefood snacking alternatives to more people in more places more quickly. The Founders, who have had active + inspiring roles in the management of NBF, and have been crucial to its success, will continue to lead and run the company.

Lotus has acquired just over 67 percent of the shares of Natural Balance Foods from the external, non-active investors, whereas the Founders have kept most of their shares. Both partners, Lotus and the Founders, see the transaction as a long term joining of forces. In the new partnership there is a clear agreement that the DNA of the brands will be kept unchanged. The price paid represents a multiple of c1.8x the expected current year Net Sales.

Jan Boone, CEO of Lotus is delighted with this partnership: «As a group, Lotus Bakeries has traditionally focused mainly on the indulgent segment of biscuits and snacking. Additionally we recognize there is a growing global demand for healthy, unprocessed and tasty alternatives».

«The Nakd and Trek brands, which are complementary to our current product and brand portfolio, will ensure Lotus has the right product and brand offering for all consumers».

«Every strong brand has its own personality, its specific DNA and consumers. In that regard, Lotus will respect and maintain the identity and characteristics of both the Nakd and Trek brands, as we have done in the past for the Peijnenburg, Dinosaurus, Annas Pepparkakor and Snelle Jelle brands, whilst leveraging our unique capabilities to drive growth».

Greg and Jamie Combs, the Founders of NBF expressed their enthusiasm towards the partnership: «Today is an exciting and pivotal moment for the growth of wholefood snacking. Over a decade ago, we founded Natural Balance Foods with the dream of a «Wholefood Revolution», where natural, delicious and affordable snacks would be mainstream and beloved around the world. This strategic partnership will be enormously helpful in that important effort and we are delighted to have Lotus by our side. Lotus can assist significantly in international expansion, whilst supporting our passionate commitment to the principles and purpose of our company, brands and products. We look forward to continuing to lead the way in the food industry alongside our new friends and partners».