Nutella maker Ferrero hopes to buy Delacre biscuits by mid-Dec

MILAN, Nov 26 (Reuters) - Italy’s Ferrero expects to wrap up a deal to buy biscuit maker Delacre from United Biscuits by mid-December, the producer of chocolate and nut spread Nutella said on Saturday.

The family-owned confectioner made an offer to acquire the company at the end of July. The move is aimed at entering premium biscuits sector and reducing the group’s reliance on chocolate products, analysts have said. It could also help Ferrero expand its business in North America, they added.

The relevant worker council consultations have been completed and the offer is now subject to a competition review, Ferrero said, adding it was hopeful of completing the transaction by mid-December.

The Piedmont-based group did not disclose the financial details of the deal that will give it the ownership of the manufactures of both Delacre and Delichoc biscuits.

While the majority of the sales of Delacre are in Belgium and France, it is also present in the United States and Canada.

“This holds a strategic opportunity for Ferrero, which has been struggling to increase its footprint in North America in the face of strong competition from (chocolate) brands Lindt and Godiva,” Pinar Hosafci, Euromonitor International senior food analyst, said in a research on the deal.

United Biscuits is controlled by Yildiz Holding, the Turkish owner of Godiva chocolate and McVitie’s biscuits which recently set up a London-based company called Pladis to boost its exposure to international markets and investors (Reporting by Francesca Landini; Editing by Alexander Smith)