August 5, 2019 / 4:28 PM / a month ago

Italy's illycaffe buys its British distributor

FILE PHOTO: Illy coffee cans at a coffee shop in Rome, Italy, May 3, 2016. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi/File Photo

MILAN (Reuters) - Italian coffee roaster illycaffe has bought its distributor in Britain, signaling its confidence in the market in spite of uncertainties surrounding the country’s looming exit from the European Union.

The acquisition also represents something of a departure for the family-owned group, which has previously focused mainly on organic growth since its foundation in 1933.

Illycaffe, which produces and sells a blend made by nine varieties of Arabica beans, said it would acquire the division of Euro Food Brands that has been selling its products in Britain for more than 25 years.

Euro Food Brands distributes international food products including Campbell’s soup and Barilla’s pasta to Britain.

“The move signals illycaffe’s intention to keep on investing in the United Kingdom despite Brexit uncertainties,” the company said in a statement without disclosing financial details of the deal.

“By internalising the distribution we will be able to directly steer development of the illy brand and grow the relationship we have with our UK customers,” said Chief Executive Massimiliano Pogliani.

Last month Chairman Andrea Illy told Reuters the group was keen to accelerate growth and could consider a strategic partnership to expand its retail network of 259 outlets.

Reporting by Francesca Landini; Editing by David Goodman

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