The European Commission has authorized the acquisition of H.L. Verwaltungs-GmbH (known as 'Huber') of Austria by Bell AG, belonging to the Coop Group, both of Switzerland.
Huber produces, processes and distributes chicken and turkey meat, primarily in Austria, southern Germany and Switzerland.
For its part, Bell is active in the production, processing and distribution of meat products, seafood and convenience products in Switzerland and in several countries in the European Economic Area (EEA). After the transaction, Bell will increase its business activities in Austria and Germany.
The commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns, because of the minor overlaps between the companies' activities in the EEA and the low increments resulting from the transaction in the markets where their activities overlap.
In December 2015, Bell announced its plan to take over the Huber Group.
Huber Group specializes in the production of top-quality poultry. Some 900 employees generate an annual revenue of more than EUR300 million (US$327 million). A family company with a strong position in the Austrian and German markets, Huber Group comprises the Austrian leader in the poultry market, Hubers Landhendl GmbH in Pfaffstätt in Austria, turkey specialist Süddeutsche Truthahn AG in Ampfing in Germany, and a hatchery and a logistics company in Austria.
Like Bell in Switzerland, the Huber Group is based on an integrated production model with more than 400 partner poultry growers. The Huber Group already provides Bell with poultry for the Swiss market from plants that meet at least the standards of the Swiss Animal Welfare Act.
The Bell Group is a leading meat processor and manufacturer of convenience products in Europe. Its range includes meat, poultry, charcuterie, seafood and convenience products. With the brands Bell, Abraham, ZIMBO, Môssieur Polette and Hilcona, the Group counts the retail and wholesale trade, food service sector and food processing industry among its customers. Some 8,000 employees generated consolidated sales of CHF1.3 billion (US$1.3 billion) in the first half of 2015. Bell is listed on the Swiss stock exchange.