British Baker takes a look back to see how the sale of CSM’s Bakery Supplies business has developed during the last 10 months.

As the leading baking industry business publication, British Baker has been at the forefront of reporting the latest movements of the Dutch group’s Bakery Supplies divestment. We look back at the last 10 months to see how the process has panned out:

8 May 2012: CSM to sell European bakery arm

The Netherlands-based firm revealed it would be selling its European and North American Bakery Supplies divisions, to focus on its bio-based ingredients businesses Purac and Caravan Ingredients. CSM said its Bakery Supplies businesses required funding to participate in market consolidation, and that it did not have sufficient funds to exploit the growth in both bakery supplies and bio-ingredients.

Shares leapt as high as 30% as analysts said the sale could raise as much as €1.3bn (£1bn) to pay down debt and return to shareholders.

18 May 2012: Speculation over buyers for CSM bakery arm

A number of international companies were earmarked as potential buyers by analysts, as British Baker understood that rival bakery firm Bakels was not in the running to purchase the business. Mexican bread maker Grupo Bimbo and Belgian bakery group Puratos, as well as private equity firms, were pinpointed as possible purchasers.

Paul Meade, communications officer of Swiss-based speciality bakery firm Aryzta, told British Baker the company did not comment on market speculation.

4 July 2012: CSM given green light for transformation

The sale of the Bakery Supplies business was approved at CSM’s Extraordinary General Meeting of Shareholders, which took place on 3 July.

9 August 2012: CSM sees Q2 improvement

CSM achieved higher sales during the three-month period, including a 14% rise in ebitda, excluding one-off costs, to  €41.4m (£32.66m), and 8% increase in sales to €827m (£652.44m).

Gerard Hoetmer, chief executive of CSM, said he expected the company to have made significant progress with plans to sell the Bakery Supplies business by early 2013.

12 October 2012: CSM UK sees profit almost halve

Operating profit at CSM’s UK division fell by 46% to just over £7m during the year to 31 December 2011, as revealed in the company’s latest financial reports filed at Companies House. Despite a 6.5% increase in turnover to £155.67m, the firm said raw material cost inflation had continued to affect the business.  

25 October 2012: CSM takes next steps in bakery divestment

The company issued an Information Memorandum, which was sent to a select number of potential buyers, including both historical and forward-looking statements highlighting consistent sales growth for the Bakery Supplies business for the next few years.

CSM also revealed the European arm (BSEU) saw a 5.6% drop in sales volumes during the third quarter, but a 2.5% rise in total sales revenue to €823.4m (£664.89m) in the year-to-date.

5 November 2012: CSM name to go with Bakery Supplies business?

Dutch financial publication Financieele Dagblad revealed CSM would consider selling the business’ name to a potential buyer of its Bakery Supplies business.Hoetmer said: “It might be possible to sell the name, but it is too early to say definitely.”

CSM, which stands for Centrale Suiker Maatschappij (Central Sugar Society), originates back to the firm’s background in the sugar beet industry in 1919.

30 January 2013: CSM sees first bids for Bakery Supplies business

The company received initial non-binding offers for both the European and North American activities of the Bakery Supplies business, giving a select group of potential buyers access to company data. This was ahead of CSM’s publication of its full-year 2012 financial figures on 13 March, in which the firm said “post balance events, if any, resulting from the divestment process will be evaluated”.

14 March 2013: CSM downgrades value of bakery business

The company announced it was bringing down the valuation of its BSEU division by €165m (£143.2m) to €103m (£89m), as part of its latest financial performance update. Sales volumes during 2012 year dropped 2%, while sales rose by €4.04m (£3.5m) to €1.12bn (£970.2m).

In a statement, CSM said: “In this tough environment our Bakery Supplies businesses performed satisfactorily. We saw volume declines albeit at a rate in line with or better than market average, while profitability increased as a result of our strong focus on cost."

22 March 2013: Speculation mounts over future of CSM’s Bakery Supplies business

An analyst revealed that private equity firms were more than likely to swoop in and purchase the business, as rival bakery firms has walked away from the deal. “No industry party is in talks any more and only private equity firms are discussing a potential purchase of these assets,” he explained.

A CSM spokesperson told British Baker it would not reveal details of the sale, but added that the company was on track with original expectations.

25 March 2013: CSM Bakery Supplies sold for £900m

International private equity firm Rhône Capital LLC purchased the Bakery Supplies business for €1.05bn (£900m), CSM revealed. The deal included both European and North American activities, as well as the CSM brand name, and the transaction was expected to be complete by the third quarter.