Unilever has purchased the Weis ice cream brand, planning to expand its reach across the globe.
While the purchase price remains undisclosed, ‘industry sources’ claim the purchase could be worth up to $50 million, the Courier Mail reported.
Weis managing director Julie Weis said the 60-year-old Toowoomba company agreed to the deal so long as the ice cream bars continued to be produced in Toowoomba.
“You get to a point where you feel there’s another organisation that can better take the business you created to the next level of development,” she said.
“One of the benefits of being with Unilever is they can assist us taking the business to the next level.
“Distribution in ice cream and frozen foods is always difficult – taking samples to state fairs in China is very difficult. We have been dipping our toes in China for the last 18 months – Unilever plans in the first instance to improve distribution locally then look further afield.”
Unilever ANZ chief executive Clive Stiff said fruit would continue to be locally sourced and manufactured in the Toowoomba plant.
“This acquisition will bring Weis the benefits of scale, strong market access and ice cream category expertise to help take the business to the next level in its growth,” he said.
Weis is the newest brand to join other well-known Australian brands that are now owned by overseas companies including Arnott’s, Golden Circle and Bushells.
Weis will now be able to extend its reach both globally and at home in Australia.
Mr Stiff said Weis is a great Australian success story that will continue on with Unilever.
Weis founder Les Weis said Unilever would be able to grow the brand.
“(My wife) Val has always said to me ‘business is like a wheelbarrow, it doesn’t go anywhere unless someone pushes it’ and I think Unilever will give Weis just the push it needs,” he said.