Darrell Lea to buy Life Savers brand from Nestlé

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Darrell Lea has made “a conditional agreement” with Nestlé to acquire the rights to the Life Savers brand in Australia and New Zealand.

As part of the planned acquisition, Australian-owned Darrell Lea will move manufacturing of Life Savers from New Zealand to Australia. The iconic confectionery will be produced at its “state-of-the-art” manufacturing facility at Ingleburn, in south-west Sydney.

Darrell Lea CEO Tim York said: “As part of our business-growth ambitions, we’re in the market for great confectionery brands, and Life Savers is certainly that.

“We believe there is significant growth potential for the Life Savers brand through new product innovation and gaining additional distribution in Australia and New Zealand.

“With a high-energy team, the ability to be agile, sales growth momentum and the backing of Quadrant PE, we see a very bright future for the Darrell Lea business here in Australia.”

Life Savers were last made in Australia in the early 2000s.

Darrell Lea describes itself as the largest independently owned confectionery player in the country. It was recently bought for $200 million by Australia’s Quadrant Private Equity.

Quadrant says it recognises the “tremendous” growth Darrell Lea has achieved over the past five years. It also says it sees continuing double-digit growth for the business through both organic growth and the acquisition of complementary confectionery brands and manufacturing capability.

As part of the deal, Darrell Lea says it will also acquire the Black Knight, Heards, Fabulicious, Odd Fellows & Mackintosh’s brands through its sister company, RJ’s in New Zealand.

Nestlé says it is consulting with those employees who are affected by the sale. The purchase price has not been disclosed.