19 Jan 2017

Vegemite to return to Australian ownership

2:25 pm on 19 January 2017

Vegemite is set to return to Australian ownership after dairy company Bega announced it would buy most of Mondelez International's Australia and New Zealand grocery and cheese business.


The iconic spread was developed in Australia in the 1920s as an alternative to Marmite. Photo: Flickr.com / Stephen Mitchell

Bega, in a note to the Australian Stock Exchange, said it would use bank debt to fund the $AU460 million ($NZD480m) acquisition.

The deal does not include Philadelphia products but will see Australian ownership of Kraft-branded products, including peanut butter, cheeses and mayonnaise.

The statement said the company would use "near-term corporate opportunities to pay down debt".

"This acquisition will be value accretive in its own right, strategically important and company making," Bega executive chairman Barry Irvin said.

"These iconic brands alongside the Bega brand are strong building blocks to enable Bega Cheese to become a great consumer goods business."

Shares in Bega immediately jumped 10 percent when trading on the ASX opened on Thursday morning.

Late last year, shares in Bega hit a 52-week low as investors continued to offload shares in the dairy processor.

It came after the company admitted sales of its infant formula to Asia had not lived up to expectation.

Mondelez is a global giant in the confectionary, food and beverage sector.

It owns some of the world's most famous brands including Cadbury, Nabisco and Ritz.

The deal will see Bega takeover Mondelez's Port Melbourne factory.

Mondelez will retain ownership of the Cadbury brand and its Hobart factory.