Press: Heavyweights eying Czech food produce Hamé

Photo: archive of Hamé

Several large Czech and international companies have expressed interest in acquiring the Czech food producer Hamé, the daily Hospodářské noviny reports. Hamé, which last year posted revenues of over five billion crowns, goes on sale six years after it was bought by Latvia’s Nordic Partners Group. One of the companies interested in the acquisition is an investment fund owned by the Czech finance minister and food industry tycoon Andrej Babiš.

Photo: archive of Hamé
Andrej Babiš’s Hartenberg Capital investment fund is one of several firms interested in buying the food producer Hamé, according to a report by Hospodářské noviny. Others include the Norwegian food conglomerate Orkla, the Croatian firm Podravka and Poland’s largest fruit and vegetable processing firm Agros Nova.

Hamé is one of the Czech Republic’s biggest food producers specializing in durable and chilled products. More than half of its products are exported; its main destinations include Russia, Romania, Austria, and several dozen others. Its revenues last year amounted to 5.13 billion crowns, or nearly 232 million US dollars, with profits reaching 550 million crowns. The firm, founded in 1922, was privatized three years after the fall of communism, and in 2008, it was acquired by the Latvian based Nordic Partners Group which paid 4.5 billion crowns for a majority stake in the firm.

This is not the first time the Latvian owners offered the firm for sale. But Hame’s sales have suffered significantly due to the global financial crisis which has pushed down the company’s price that could now be similar to the amount paid by Nordic Partners Group in 2008.

Another factor that could facilitate the sale is the fact that several major players in the European food industry have announced acquisition plans in the region of central and eastern Europe. The Rothschild consulting firm, hired by Hamé’s owners to assist with the transaction, will collect offers for another two weeks before it picks two candidates for further negotiations, according to the newspaper report. The deal should be finalized within several months’ time.