British multinational United Biscuits is to invest four million euros to bolster its position in the Portuguese market. In August 2004, it completed the acquisition of Triunfo Produtos Alimentares SA, giving it a 39 per cent share of the Portuguese biscuit market. A significant percentage of this investment is to be used in a nationwide TV advertising campaign and the refurbishment of its factory in Sintra. Triunfo has around 30 trademark products, including Bolacha Maria, Boca Doce and Royal.
Paulo Gonçalves, United Biscuits director general in Portugal, told The Resident: “We’re going to increase our publicity investment by around 50 per cent and add an extra 25 per cent the following year. You could say that, overall, the company is doubling its level of investment.”
Gonçalves also said that, over the next two years, the company would be launching up to 14 new biscuit products which do not have equivalents in the present market and which “should increase the brand’s value and modernise its image”.
The company says it needs to overhaul and improve its product range because existing products are facing increasing competition and losing ground from the so-called ‘value lines’ available from supermarkets.
In 1992, Triunfo held around 40 per cent of the national biscuit market share, but that figure had plummeted to 23 per cent by this year. This is largely because the company no longer has an open playing field in Portugal. A number of strong international brands, such as the German company Balshen, have entered the market in the past decade. However, despite strong competition, United Biscuits says that the Triunfo trademark is not losing its public image, with market research showing that 90 per cent of the public mentioned Triunfo when asked to name a biscuit company in surveys.
“Above all, the Triunfo trademark is still instantly recognisable and seen as a byword for quality and tradition with the Portuguese public. We want to build on that strong public following by modernising that image and extending our brand ranges with new and exciting consumer products,” stressed Gonçalves.
With the Triunfo acquisition, United Biscuits has now become the largest player in the Portuguese biscuit barrel, allowing it to produce and market ranges already established in the UK arena, such as Jaffa Cakes. United Biscuits also own the Hookie, Classicus, Waferland, Corinta and Chipmix biscuit and sweet brands in Portugal.
In September 2004, United Biscuits bought the Jacob’s Biscuit Group, while in the same month its half-year turnover was registered at 652.5 million pounds sterling (down by 7.3 million pounds sterling on the previous year). However, business profit was 64.7 million pounds sterling thanks to good performances in southern Europe.
In 2004, combined sales for United Biscuits and Triunfo are forecast to reach 75 million euros in Portugal. Malcolm Ritchie, London-based United Biscuits’ chief executive, said: “This acquisition significantly strengthens our presence in Iberia, adding a portfolio of strong, market leading brands.” C.G.