Unilever expands its investment in Australian dairy with Weis acquisition

05 Sep 2017

Anglo-Dutch food and beverage giant Unilever has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Weis Frozen Foods for an undisclosed price.

A Unilever media release says Weis, which was founded in 1957, will continue to manufacture its products in Toowoomba, Queensland, using locally sourced ingredients.

‘This acquisition will bring Weis the benefits of scale, strong market access and ice cream category expertise to help take the business to the next level in its growth,’ says Clive Stiff, CEO of Unilever Australia & New Zealand.

‘Our Streets ice cream brand is one of the nation’s best loved brands so ice cream is strategically important to Unilever Australia. Weis is another great Australian success story – a story that will continue with Unilever.’

Weis Managing Director, Julie Weis adds: ‘Our family made this decision because Unilever demonstrated its understanding of our brand, our products and how important our people and the Toowoomba manufacturing site are in ensuring Weis’ success into the future.

‘Unilever’s scale will enable greater market access and growth that will provide opportunities for our extended Weis family of staff, suppliers, customers and of course our wonderful consumers.’

An article by the Australian Financial Review notes Weis accounts for about 4 per cent of Australia’s A$2.3 billion retail ice cream market, and its products are sold in Australia and overseas markets including the US, Japan and Singapore.

Weis Managing Director, Julie Weis is quoted as saying the acquisition may help Weis enter Chinese markets. ‘Distribution in ice cream and frozen foods is always difficult – taking samples to state fairs in China is very difficult,’ she says. ‘We have been dipping our toes in China for the last 18 months – Unilever plans in the first instance to improve distribution locally then look further afield.’