March 22, 2010

Osem/Nestle to Expand into Vegetarian Meat-Substitution

Tel Aviv…In a bold move, Osem is set to acquire the remaining shares in Tivall, Israel’s leading vegetarian meat-substitute producer at a total value of $300 million. Osem plans to run Tivall as a wholly-owned subsidiary. The company is owned by Kibbutz Lohamei Hageta'ot (fighters of the ghetto, survivors of the Jewish resistance) in the north of the country, near the coast between Acre and Nahariya. According to Globes, each kibbutz member will be making about $500,000 from the sale. Osem CEO Aviezer (Gezi) Kaplan is a member of the kibbutz and one of the founders of Tivall, and will also be getting a share of the sale. However, Kaplan, speaking on behalf of Osem, said the kibbutz had yet to make a final decision. Tivall was established in 1985 and Osem bought 50% of the company in 1995. In 2005 Osem received an option to buy out the kibbutz and purchased another 7% of Tivall for $20 million in March 2006. In addition to its factory on Lohamei Hageta'ot, Tivall has manufacturing facilities in the Czech Republic and in the United States. Tivall also owns Sabra Salads.

In August 2008 Tivall expanded into the American market with its purchase of Tribe Mediterranean Foods Company for $57 million. It spent another $20 million three months later to buy Foodtech International, which also makes frozen and chilled meat-substitute products. Tivall has about $200 million in annual revenues all told, including its foreign operations.