Pretzel-maker Utz readies for market debut after gaining share during the pandemic

Utz Brands CEO Dylan Lissette

Source: Utz Brands

Utz Quality Foods gained market share as shoppers stockpiled its pretzels and potato chips for quarantine snacks at the begin of coronavirus lockdowns, helped by its direct-store supply mannequin.

“Our path from manufacturing to putting it on the shelf is very fast. It can literally happen in 24 to 48 hours, depending on the geography,” mentioned CEO Dylan Lissette, the son-in-law of the founders’ grandson.

The firm’s professional forma web gross sales grew 11% to $242 million during the quarter ended June 28 and it grabbed market share from rivals. It additionally benefited from decrease publicity to foodservice retailers, like eating places and college eating halls, and comfort shops. 

Like PepsiCo and different snack corporations, Utz needed to rethink a few of the merchandise it is making during the pandemic, like selection packs that might require staff to be nearer collectively in factories. In the coming months, it plans to spend extra on promoting and advertising and marketing to assist it retain its new clients. 

Utz, which has been household owned for 99 years, is the newest firm to go public this yr by way of a cope with a particular objective acquisition firm, becoming a member of the likes of Virgin Galactic and DraftKings. A SPAC, as they’re generally referred to as, has no belongings however use the proceeds from an preliminary public providing, mixed with financial institution financing, to purchase and take privately held shopper corporations public. 

The soon-to-be fashioned Utz Brands will start buying and selling Monday on the New York Stock Exchange with the ticker “UTZ.” Lissette mentioned that Utz began speaking with Collier Creek in July of final yr a few merger. 

“As we looked at the landscape and understood that we really wanted to not just be a company that dotted along. We wanted to be a growth company, a national company. We want to compete against the largest CPG competitors in the salted snack industry,” Lissette mentioned.

Utz’s merger with Collier Creek Holdings, which has ties to funding agency CC Capital and is buying and selling for about $15.85 a share, is predicted to shut on Friday. Collier Creek co-founder Roger Deromedi, who previously served as chairman of of Pinnacle Foods and CEO of Kraft Foods, will change into chairman of the firm.

“What I liked about the combination with Collier — it was really about taking a proven playbook, not just business strategies but also governance strategies,” Lissette mentioned.

Proceeds from the deal will go towards paying down Utz’s debt. Last yr, it purchased rival pretzel maker Snyder of Berlin from Conagra Brands. After the merger with Collier Creek closes, the Rice and Lissette household will retain its 90% stake in Utz, which is able to signify greater than 50% of the firm.

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