Katjes International has purchased a 5.7 percent stake in Austrian wafer manufacturer Josef Manner & Comp AG, the German gummy maker announced earlier this month.
Katjes International will support Manner in its long-term business development, says Tobias Bachmüller, managing partner at Katjes International.
"Manner strives not only in Austria, but also internationally with high-quality products and serves as an example and inspiration for sustainable brand management, so it is a great pleasure and honor for us to have a share in it," Bachmüller said.
Founded in 1890, Josef Manner & Comp. is Austria's largest confectionery producer. In addition to classic Neapolitan wafers with hazelnut cream, Manner also owns brands Casali, Napoli, Victor Schmidt and Ildefonso. In 2016, the company generated net sales of $222.5 million.
Over the last 17 years, Katjes International has pursued a deliberate acquisition strategy to fuel its growth.
Beginning with Villosa in 2000 and continuing with Ahoj-Brause and candy brands such as Gletscher Eis and Granini during the following years, Katjes expanded its dominance in the licorice market while subsequently entering into new hard candy segments.
Katjes went into overdrive in the past five years, acquiring Festivaldi, Lutti, Dallmann’s, Piasten, and the Vicks brand.
As Bachmüller revealed in an interview posted on Katjes International’s web page, “Our approach is to keep the acquired brands and to continuously strengthen them. Our participations therefore typically remain legally independent entities and continue to be operated by the existing local management. We believe in the idea of ‘local people for local markets.’ This differentiates Katjes International, in our view, from many of our competitors.
“We are currently actively looking into expansion possibilities in Italy and Spain. What is certain is that we will continue to focus on the sugar market in Western Europe in the future. Because here we know each other and can assess the market conditions. We also attach great importance to the security provided by a common legal area and a common currency.”
Most recently, the company increased its stake in Halloren to 7 percent, the oldest and still existing chocolate factory in Germany. Although not quite a sugar confectionery company, Halloren, which was founded in 1804, does produce a line of sugared jellies in addition to its exclusive chocolates, liquor-filled selections, chocolate coins and sugared jellies.