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Unilever has announced it has agreed to buy US-based premium frozen Greek yoghurt brand Yasso.

Founded in Boston in 2009 by Amanda Klane and Drew Harrington, Yasso is “a pioneer in convenient frozen snacks”, offering a range of “low-calorie yet indulgent products”.

The acquisition is part of Unilever’s premiumisation strategy for its ice cream business, with other premium brands in the portfolio including Ben & Jerry’s, Magnum and Talenti.

Unilever said Yasso’s products respond to growing demand in North America for on-the-go, healthier and indulgent frozen snacks.

The products in the current Yasso range each contain less than 150 calories.

Matt Close, president of Unilever’s ice cream division, said: “I am delighted to welcome Yasso to the Unilever family. It has built a strong customer appeal in the fast-growing, premium ‘better for you’ segment.

“This acquisition is a great step in the evolution of our ice cream portfolio in North America towards high growth spaces. I am confident that with the full support of Unilever behind Yasso, we will take this fast-growing business to even greater heights.”

Yasso co-founders Klane and Harrington stated: “We are forever grateful for the team members, consumers, and business partners who supported us along this entrepreneurial journey. With Unilever, we have selected the best partner in the world, who believes in Yasso’s vision and purpose of spreading joy to consumers everywhere.”

Craig Shiesley, CEO at Yasso, aded: “We are excited to join Unilever and become part of the world-renowned family of ice cream brands. I’m proud of our company growth and we look forward to working with Unilever to expand the global footprint of our incredible brand.”

The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2023, subject to regulatory approvals and closing conditions.

Morning update

Loigistics group Bunzl said it is expected to deliver “another resilient performance” in the six months to 30 June.

Group revenue in the first half is expected to increase year on year by 4% to 5% at actual exchange rates, and to grow by up to 1% at constant exchange rates.

Growth at constant exchange rates is expected to be driven by acquisitions, although partially offset by the impact of the UK healthcare disposal, and with underlying revenue growth expected to be broadly flat.

Group adjusted operating margin for the first half is expected to be around the level achieved in the first half of 2022.

The group said underlying revenue in North America is expected to decline moderately, driven by volume weakness in its foodservice business, some of which is anticipated to be temporary, and with reducing benefit from inflation over the period.

Inflation is expected to drive good underlying revenue growth in Continental Europe and strong growth in UK & Ireland. Underlying revenue growth in the rest of the world is expected to be impacted by a decline in Covid-related sales.

At constant exchange rates the group continues to expect revenue in 2023 to be slightly higher than in 2022, driven by both organic growth and announced acquisitions, and partially offset by a small impact from the UK healthcare disposal.

Given performance year to date, the group is increasing its 2023 operating margin guidance to be slightly lower than that achieved over 2022.

CEO Frank van Zanten commented: “Bunzl continues to demonstrate resilience, with our operating margin over the first six months of the year expected to remain well ahead of historical levels and driving an upgrade to our full-year expectations.

“Year to date we have announced six acquisitions, including Bunzl’s 200th since 2004, with our pipeline remaining active and supported by a strong balance sheet.”

Agri services group Origin Enterprises has updated the market on its third quarter trading, with revenues down double-digits amid wider volatility.

The group said its markets continue to exhibit “significant price and volume volatility”, which requires “close management”.

Group revenue was down 15.9% (12.9% in constant currency) in the third quarter to €741.5m.

Performance in Q3 was impacted by more cautious farm sentiment and poor northern hemisphere in-field conditions delaying key crop input applications, however weather conditions and demand have subsequently improved into Q4.

However, group revenue for the nine months ended 30 April 2023 remains up 9.3% at €1.92bn, up by 11.3% on a constant currency basis.

Underlying volumes decreased 11.7% year to date, excluding crop marketing volumes, driven by reductions in Ireland/UK and Continental Europe of 13.2% and 14.2% respectively, partially offset by a strong 37.5% increase in Latin America.

It said trading so far in the year represented a “good performance”, despite the challenges presented by general pricing uncertainty and the impact of delayed key crop input applications.

Increased on-farm activity and favourable growing conditions have resulted in a positive start to Q4, and the group expects to deliver full-year adjusted earnings in line with market expectations.

On the markets this morning, the FTSE 100 has edged back 0.1% to 7,597.7pts.

Risers include Ocado, up 3.9% to 425.2p, THG, up 2% to 67.4p and Greencore, up 1.3% to 76p.

Fallers include Nichols, down 2.5% to 1,068p, McBride, down 2.2% to 26.5p and Deliveroo, down 1.9% to 102.6p.

Yesterday in the City

The FTSE 100 closed yesterday up 0.1% at 7,602.7pts.

Risers included Kerry Group, up 2.9% to €90.07, Nichols, up 2.8% to 1,095p, McBride, up 2.3% to 27.1p, Hilton Food Group, up 2.1% to 681p, Just Eat, up 1.7% to 1,120p, Marks & Spencer up 1.6% to 192.2p, and Ocado, up 1.5% to 409.1p.

The day’s fallers included Greencore, down 3.9% to 75p, Naked Wines, down 2.9% to 113p, THG, down 2.8% to 66.1p, Hotel Chocolat, down 2.6% to 149.5p, Bakkavor, down 2.4% to 96.2p and SSP Group, down 2.1% to 275.4p.