Speaking exclusively to FoodProductionDaily, the former InBev boss, who recently served as CEO, Delhaize Group Europe, discusses how the transaction further establishes Nomad’s presence in the frozen foods sector, replacing current CEO Elio Leoni Sceti, but refused to discuss rumours about a deal with The Findus Group.
“We are currently in the process of developing a strategic plan, to grow the business organically, initially leveraging Iglo’s iconic brands, market positions, and attractive margin profile, as well as through a disciplined M&A growth strategy,” he said.
“I am focused on immersing myself in the business, and after this phase is completed I will be able to offer more insight into our growth plan.
“Nomad will take a disciplined approach to evaluating future acquisition opportunities in the consumer foods space. Within this, we will evaluate opportunities to add to our position in the frozen category, as well as targets that would pave our entry into chilled and ambient foods.
Regarding Findus, Nomad said in a financial statement on June 3: “Nomad Holdings Limited notes the recent press speculation regarding a potential transaction with The Findus Group. Nomad confirms that it is in exclusive early stage discussions with Findus to acquire its continental Europe business and the Findus Brand.”
But there was no certainty the talks will result in a sale, said the firm.
Working with co-founders Martin Franklin and Noam Gottesman, Descheemaeker will implement Nomad's growth strategy and oversee day-to-day operations and brand initiatives at Iglo Group.
Prior to Delhaize Group, Descheemaeker was head of strategy and external growth at Belgian-based Interbrew, he was responsible for managing M&A and strategy, which culminated in the merger of Interbrew and AmBev in 2004 to create the world's largest brewer.
At Interbrew (and later InBev), he held operational management roles as zone president in the US, Central and Eastern Europe, and Western Europe.
“My short-term focus is immersing myself in the business so that I can uncover new opportunities to drive growth and innovation,” added Descheemaeker.
“I could not be more excited to have joined Nomad at the onset of its growth story. The initial investment in Iglo Group creates a solid foundation for us in the consumer foods space, and I am personally looking forward to working with the talented teams to promote growth and innovation in the frozen foods category.
“My extensive industry experience in food retailing and fast-moving consumer goods at established, global companies set me apart from other candidates applying for the CEO job at Nomad Foods.
During my career, I have held a wide range of roles, from executive leadership to finance, corporate strategy, and operations. I also have quite a bit of experience with M&A, which is critical as Nomad looks to implement its build-up strategy.”
He said he is currentlyworking with former CEO Sceti to ensure a smooth transition and he will meet with the rest of Iglo Group’s managers and teams across all departments to develop a strategic plan and comprehensive understanding of all aspects of the company.
“Since Iglo is Nomad’s first acquisition, we will not be undertaking an integration,” added Descheemaeker.
“Regarding future acquisitions, we will evaluate integration on a case-by-case basis and it will largely depend on whether we are acquiring assets that are bolt-on or transformative in nature.”
In terms of why Nomad chose Iglo Group, as its first acquisition, Descheemaeker said there was ‘a very compelling strategic and financial rationale that made Iglo, a frozen food player in Europe, an ideal fit’.
“Its iconic brands, attractive margin profile, strong innovation pipeline and experienced management team make it a solid foundation from which to build a best-in-class consumer foods company,” he said.
“In addition to Iglo Group being a well-run business, it operates in a competitive, yet attractive and resilient, sector, which will provide many opportunities for us to act as food consolidators.
“We will be opportunistic regarding M&A. Our goal is to acquire great assets that meet our disciplined criteria and will drive long-term value, so we want to be nimble in terms of timing. We’ll also ensure transactions are carried out at a cadence where we can comfortably fund the acquisition and have the resources available to successfully carry out any necessary integration work.”