Thu, Jul 24, 2003 - Page 10 News List

Consolidation is flavor of the day for Haagen-Dazs

By Annabel Lue  /  STAFF REPORTER

US-based General Mills Inc, owner of Haagen?Dazs ice cream, has decided to increase its investment in the nation's ice cream market by purchasing shares owned by the other major shareholder of local subsidiary Haagen?Dazs Taiwan, a company executive said yesterday.

The US manufacturer and marketer of consumer foods products, which has a global brand portfolio that includes Green Giant, Betty Crocker and Pillsbury, on Tuesday paid NT$250 million to gain sole rights to sell Haagen-Dazs ice cream in Taiwan, buying out Namchow Chemical Industrial Co's (南僑化工) 50 percent shares of that business. Namchow sells Duroyal (杜老爺) brand ice cream in Taiwan.

The purchase, completed at a price of NT$52 per share, will give General Mills full control over the local subsidiary, said Sam Yong, regional vice president of General Mills North Asia.

Establishing its first flagship store on Taipei's Tunhua North Road in 1993, Haagen?Dazs Taiwan currently has another flagship store in Taipei's Tienmu district along with nine smaller outlets within department stores nationwide.

The premium sweet is most popular in metropolitan areas, with 11 out of the 12 Haagen?Dazs outlets being located in Taipei and the remaining one in Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Department Stores' (新光三越百貨) Tianan branch, according to Lien Jung-chang (連榮章), a spokesman for Namchow

Haagen?Dazs Taiwan, which has capital of NT$9.6 million, was profitable since tits first year of operation. It registered 10 percent profit growth, to NT$35 million, last year from a year ago, with average sales of NT$350 million over the last five years, Lien said.

"Haagen?Dazs is a strong brand and we are sorry not be able to keep selling it in Taiwan," Lien said. "After all, Haagen?Dazs doesn't belong to Namchow ? we can't say anything when the owner wants it back."

While the nation's slow economy has hurt the sweet provider's sales over the last two year, which shut down two or three outlets, Haagen-Dazs Taiwan still views the island as a very profit market and is aimed to make a windfall via bringing more original flavors.

"... We will be able to be more involved in our product selection and marketing," said Charles Yao (姚志豪), marketing manager of Haagen?Dazs Taiwan.

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