FRANCE- Privately-owned confectionery giant Mars recently revealed plans to invest €130m (US$140m) in its sites in France across four business units.

Romain Dumas, the CEO of Mars’ pet-food business in the country, outlined the plans at the pan-industry Choose France investment summit.

According to Dumas, the company will increase production capacity across its four French units – the confectionery-focused Mars Wrigley, the two petcare arms of Mars Petcare and Royal Canin, and Mars Food.

Dumas explained that this planned investment will go towards modernizing and digitizing factories and investing in sustainable packaging.

Mars has been planning to bolster its pet food operations in France for a while now, and part of the revealed investment program covers the project Mars announced last year to invest at its pet-food production facility in Saint-Denis-de-l’Hôtel.

All these investments will allow us to continue to offer the French and their pets quality products at the best price and to develop our company in a solid and sustainable way in France,” Dumas said.

According to GlobalData, Mars is amongst the top three companies in the French confectionery sector, with Ferrero and Mondelez International maintaining a considerable market share. 

This investment could see Mars strengthen its grip on the confectionery market share while boosting pet food capabilities as well. 

Beyond France, Mars has been strengthening its pet food business, and last August, Mars set out plans to invest US$82m in its pet-food facility in Kansas City.

Mars to buy vet diagnostics firm 

Additionally, in April this year, Mars announced its intention to acquire veterinary diagnostics firm Heska for US$1.3 bln, according to a report by Reuters

Headquartered in Colorado, USA, Heska Corp makes diagnostic equipment such as cancer screening tests for animals, selling its products in the United States, Australia, and European countries such as Germany, Italy, Spain, France, and Switzerland.

The company has been doing well, reporting sales of US$257.3 million in 2022, compared to US$253.7 million a year earlier.

According to a joint statement about the matter, Mars said it would pay US$120 per share to Heska’s shareholders, which is a premium of 22.9% over its last close. 

The companies expect to close the deal in the second half of 2023.

The snacks and confectionery business has been making these and more investments in its pet care business in anticipation of a boom in demand due to a rise in pet ownership.

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