The Italian Almanac

Caballero and Carmencita

Lavazza at Stake

Italian coffee giant Lavazza has agreed to acquire a 7% stake in Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR) of the United States for $250 million, the two companies announced in a joint press release. The operation, which must be approved by US anti-trust authorities, is expected to be completed in September and is the biggest investment the family-owned Italian company has made abroad. Over the past four years Lavazza has been intensifying its expansion abroad, acquiring companies in emerging countries like India, Brazil and Argentina.

Lavazza and GMCR have also agreed to cooperate to develop new single-serve espresso machines and single-serve espresso capsules designed for use in these machines. The new machines, which Lavazza will manufacture, would complement GMCR's line of Keurig single-cup coffee brewers, the press release said. The accord also allows GMCR to distribute, market and sell existing coffee espresso single-cup machines utilizing Lavazza's espresso technology for in-home use in the US and Canada.

"We are thrilled to have entered this very important alliance with GMCR," Lavazza CEO Gaetano Mele said in the statement. "This agreement offers a unique opportunity to fully develop the potential of the authentic Italian espresso, and espresso-based beverages, in North America. We are confident that this investment is only a first step in a broader collaboration with GMCR in R&D, innovative technology and international expansion for both companies".

GMCR President and CEO Lawrence J. Blanford said that "Lavazza's investment in GMCR reflects their confidence in our strategy, vision and execution and provides enhanced financial flexibility to fund our growth and future enabling initiatives. We have developed an effective working relationship with Lavazza and, based on the impressive quality of the Lavazza people and technology, we believe there is strong potential for a commercial alliance between GMCR and Lavazza that will leverage our complementary coffee systems and respective geographic strengths".

GMCR is a recognised leader in the specialised coffee market and a pioneer in single-cup brewing. Lavazza, founded in 1895, is one of the world's largest coffee manufacturers and the retail market leader in Italy. It directly operates 11 international subsidiaries and its products are marketed in 90 countries.