Swiss bakery group hires strategy consultants from Rothschild

21 May 2020 2 min. read

As activist investors push Aryzta to maximise its value for the benefit of its shareholders, the Swiss-Irish baked goods company has revealed it has appointed consultants to review its strategic and financial options. The review is being carried out by strategic consultants from Rothschild.

Aryzta is an international food business with a leadership position in frozen B2B bakery. A global supplier to the food service, retail and QSR sectors, the organisation operates 54 bakeries across Europe, North America, South America, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. The company’s products include a variety of pies, quiches, glazes, sauces and appetisers.

Recent years have seen on-going falls in the company’s share price, which has plummeted from a high of 18 Swiss Francs in 2014 to just 0.35 today. Concern among shareholders has seen activist investors Veraison and Cobas Asset Management gain increased sway within the firm, who earlier said the company should make changes to help boost its share price, as they announced a tie-up that encompasses 17.3% of shares.

Swiss bakery group hires strategy consultants from RothschildCommenting on the move, Swiss-based Veraison said in a statement, "The two shareholders have joined to actively support improvements in the company. Trust in Aryzta must be rebuilt. Only in this way can Aryzta create value for all stakeholders again."

Amid this, Aryzta has confirmed it has appointed consultants from Rothschild, as it looks to appease its investors and turn its flagging performance around. As of April 2020, the consultants have been working to review the strategic and financial options available to it to maximise its value for the benefit of shareholders.

The final results of the review are expected at the end of July, but as it looks to reduce costs during the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions, Aryzta has already implemented a range of measures. The group, which owns the Cuisines de France brand, said it has paused production in three bakeries in Europe and five in north America since the end of April, while it has also temporarily reduced other capacity in line with demand.

Future capital expenditure with the exception of maintenance and health and safety has been suspended, and roughly 30% of the group’s staff have also been furloughed. According to Aryzta, this has already yielded savings of more than €50 million. This will help the firm offset the worst immediate impacts of the coronavirus on its business, and Aryzta currently has liquidity in excess of €385 million as of the end of April, up from €360 million in March.