Norwegian company Orkla has prepared a 4.7 billion bid for the Czech food giant Hamé. The multifaceted Orkla, whose assets range from chemicals to branded goods and financial products, is already the owner of the Czech company Vitana. The deal will have to be approved by the Czech competition office.
Czech companies, even the biggest of them, do not have a sizable footprint in the United States. The value of Czech exports to the US is approaching around 100 billion crowns, which sounds a lot but is probably a bit disappointing given the size of the overall market. But an initiative from a US businessman with Czech roots is looking to address that problem and has already got a handful of local companies up and running on US soil.
The Czech food manufacturer Hamé has offered to help up to 10 Syrian families who fled the civil war in their homeland and hoped to stay in the Czech Republic. The firm has offered to help find both lodgings as well as work at the company plants. At a press conference on Monday, the head of Hamé foods, Martin Štrupl, called the situation in Syria tragic and made clear that Syrian refugees deserved a chance in the Czech Republic. According to the Czech News Agency, there have been about 50 various offers to provide housing, jobs, material goods, and translation services for refugees on Czech soil.
Many Czech food producers have invested into the Russian market in past years, and their strategy seemed to be working. But the arrival of reciprocal sanctions between the West and Russia due to the ongoing crisis in Ukraine is likely to thwart their thriving business. Voices of concern have already been heard from some of the major Czech producers active on the Russian market – but Czech farmers and small producers could face an even greater risk.
In business news this week: monthly Czech household debt has fallen for the first time in 11 years, while consumer confidence went up; Telefónica released lower earning figures for last year than was expected; food produced Hamé wants to expand to Africa and the Middle East; plan for the Czech-Austrian Mozart pipeline has been revived; produced of esophagus stents wins Czech innovation prize; year-on-year profits for Czech pension funds went up last year.
The State Agricultural and Food Inspection Authority (SZPI) has ordered the Czech food company Hamé to withdraw from sale more than 11,000 sweet biscuit packs after they were found to contain misleading labeling. The “butter leaves” are in fact made using margarine and not butter, with SZPI spokesperson Pavel Kopřiva stating that such mislabeling will lead to legal proceedings and sanctions against the company. The biscuits themselves were made by the Polish firm Mieszko for Hamé.
The biggest Czech canned food manufacturer Hamé merged with the Icelandic investor Nordic Partners. Financial details of the merger have not been disclosed. Nordic Partners currently runs food producing companies in Lithuania, Latvia and Poland; the board chairman of the Icelandic company Leo Gunnarsson said his company was not considering closing down any of Hamé’s plants. After the merger with Hamé, the group will be producing 170,000 tonnes of food products and 100 million litres of beverages annually. Its annual sales are estimated at 10 billion crowns, or more than 626 million U.S. dollars.