GARDABAER, ICELAND — Marel, a global supplier of advanced food processing systems and services, announced April 27 it has reached an agreement to acquire Wenger Manufacturing LLC, a Sabetha, Kan.-based manufacturer of extrusion and drying technologies. The acquisition marks Marel’s entrance into the pet nutrition industry as it establishes pet food as its fourth business segment alongside poultry, meat and fish.

Valued at $540 million, the acquisition combines Wenger’s processing know-how with Marel’s established food and feed focus. The new business segment will explore growth opportunities in three key, high-growth markets: pet food, plant-based proteins and aquaculture feed.

“We are thrilled to join forces with the great team in Wenger with whom we have a strong strategic and cultural fit,” said Arni Oddur Thordarson, chief executive officer of Marel. “Wenger’s passion for innovation and commitment to high-quality solutions, in addition to their excellent customer focus and talent management, are the key attributes Marel is proud to partner with. 

“Wenger is a true leader in its field of providing solutions and services to the pet food industry and aqua feed industries, and has in recent years made its mark on the fast-growing plant-based protein consumer market with best-in-class solutions positioned right in the center point of the value chain,” Thordarson added.

Marel’s new business segment will be based on Wenger’s platform as a leading supplier and partner for extrusion technologies in the companion animal and plant-based protein spaces. The new segment is expected to account for 10% of Marel’s total revenue and 12% of combined EBITDA.

“Wenger has a long history as an innovative, responsive partner to our customers,” said Trevor Angell, chairman of the board of directors for Wenger. “The relationships we have built, and the incredible character of our people are central to this. Our long-standing customers worldwide are looking for a trusted partner and local support to keep their operations running at optimal performance. Marel has invested significantly in its global reach and digital platform, which will improve Wenger’s ability to be the partner of choice for our clients throughout the long lifecycle of our equipment. Further, our dedicated team will be joining a large, healthy, international organization where they can grow and see increased opportunities.”

Marel will benefit from Wenger’s complementary product portfolio and geographic presence. The combined companies will explore growth opportunities in a market ripe for innovation. According to Marel, the addressable market for processing solutions in the pet food, plant-based proteins and aquaculture feed industries is estimated at €2 billion ($2.11 billion USD) with a steady annual growth rate between 4% and 6%.

“We see immediate opportunities for growth and value creation by leveraging Marel’s global reach and digital platforms in Wenger’s sizable addressable markets,” Thordarson said. “The two companies have complementary technologies and a product portfolio that will accelerate the journey to become full-line providers in the respective fields.”

The finalized acquisition is subject to anti-trust and shareholder approval. Marel will host a virtual investor meeting on Thursday, April 28 at 4 p.m. CET, during which company management will provide an overview of the acquisition plans, business strategy and growth objectives.

Wenger Manufacturing was founded in 1935 and has since grown into a $190 million company with 500 employees and a global reach. The acquisition is expected to support Marel’s growth strategy through 2026, targeting 12% average annual revenue growth.

Marel has been eyeing pet food and plant-based protein markets since 2016, and in 2020 the company established a business development division to explore opportunities in these spaces. Its acquisition of Wenger is a culmination of Marel’s desire to expand its global presence in markets adjacent to meat and poultry.

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