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Smart Balance, Inc., a Paramus, N.J., division of GF Brands, acquired 100% of the equity interest of Importations DE-RO-MA, which owns Glutino Food Group, for $66.3 million. Based in Laval, Quebec, Glutino is a leading manufacturer and marketer of gluten-free foods, including snacks and frozen baked goods sold under the Glutino and Gluten Free Pantry brands.
"We are truly excited about adding the Glutino Food Group to our portfolio of health and wellness brands,” says Stephen Hughes, chairman and CEO of Smart Balance. “Glutino has increased its sales approximately 30% annually over the past three years, and we are confident about its growth prospects and contribution to Smart Balance. The demand for gluten-free products is significant, and is now a category of over $2 billion in retail sales. We are bullish on the continuation of the category's 10% compound annual growth rate due to increased awareness and diagnosis of gluten-induced ailments, including celiac disease, gluten intolerance and wheat allergies."
“The gluten-free segment is complementary with our corporate vision of creating a health and wellness innovation platform that builds brands targeted at highly motivated consumer need states,” adds Hughes. “Just as our Smart Balance, Earth Balance and Bestlife brands address the health and wellness needs of consumers, Glutino addresses a specific dietary need by eliminating gluten in foods that consumers have to avoid for health reasons. Dedication to providing high-quality and great tasting products has enabled the company to pioneer and shape the gluten-free category. This has created a strong consumer following and established Glutino as the preeminent gluten-free brand."
Smart Balance will host a conference call on Aug. 4 at 9:30 a.m. ET to further discuss this announcement as well as the release of the company's second quarter results. The dial-in number is 800-895-0198 or 785-424-1053 and the conference ID is 7BALANCE. An audio webcast will also be available at www.smartbalance.com.