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McCormick Buys Botanical Food Company for $114M Cash

McCormick & Co., Inc.MKC recently announced the acquisition of Australia-based Botanical Food Company, Pty Ltd, a privately held firm, for approximately 150 million Australian dollars ($114 million) in cash. 

Botanical Food Company is the seller of the Gourmet Garden brand of packaged herbs. Gourmet Garden is a global market leader in chilled convenient packaged herbs and exports its products to 15 countries with the largest market being the United States. It has net annual sales of approximately $53 million and is growing at a double-digit rate.

The acquisition of Gourmet Garden maker will complement McCormick's existing branded herb portfolio with the addition of chilled convenient herbs. McCormick plans to expand global distribution and increase brand investment in order to boost sales of the Gourmet Garden brand.

McCormick expects no earnings per share impact in 2016 due to the estimated transaction, integration and financing costs. However, itexpects the acquisition to be fully accretive in 2017.

McCormick has been strategically increasing its presence through acquisitions in order to expand its spices and seasonings portfolio. In the emerging markets too, the company has extended its reach where it has little or no distribution.

In 2015, the company acquired One World Foods, the seller of Stubb's barbeque sauces in August, after Drogheria & Alimentari (D&A) in May and Brand Aromatics in March. These three acquisitions increased 2015 sales by 1%.

Last week, McCormick abandoned its plans to acquire UK-based Premier Foods, after approaching it thrice with a higher offer. After a due diligence review, McCormick concluded that it would not be able to propose a price that would be recommended by the Premier Foods’ board while also delivering appropriate returns to McCormick shareholders. Consecutively, McCormick decided to withdraw its proposal of acquiring Premier Foods.

Nevertheless, McCormick, known for its spices and Lawry's seasonings, regularly enhances its products through innovation in order to remain competitive and tap the rising demand for new flavors, spices and herbs, which are fast replacing demand for sugar, salt and fat.

McCormick has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Investors interested in the space can also consider Campbell Soup Company CPB, Medifast Inc. MED and Sysco Corp. SYY. While Campbell sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Sysco and Medifast hold a Zacks Rank #2.

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