Unilever sells Mazola and other North American food brands to ACH Food Companies Inc. for €406 million (US$360 million)

Unilever today announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to sell 19 food brands sold across North America to ACH Food Companies, Inc., of Memphis, Tennessee, a subsidiary of Associated British Foods plc. Unilever will receive €406 million (US$360 million) in cash in a transaction expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2002, subject to regulatory approvals and certain other conditions.

The brands and related assets, acquired by Unilever in connection with the October 2000 acquisition of Bestfoods, had combined sales of €350 million (US$310 million) in 2001. The major brands include Mazola cooking oil products, Argo and Kingsford's corn starches, Karo and Golden Griddle syrups and Henri's salad dressing sold in the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada. Additional Canadian brands include Benson’s and Canada corn starches, St. Lawrence/ St. Laurent corn oil, Crown and Bee Hive corn syrups, Old Colony maple syrup and Old Tyme pancake syrup.

Unilever is selling the brands as part of its Path to Growth strategy, which includes a focus on a smaller number of brands in clearly defined categories.

The deal also includes a manufacturing facility in Argo, Illinois. In total, approximately 200 employees will be transferred to ACH Food Companies.

Patrick Cescau, Unilever's Foods Director, said, "These brands simply fall outside of our brand focus. Our foods portfolio in North America, which includes Lipton, Hellmann's, Slim•Fast and Ben & Jerry's, is well-positioned to achieve superior growth performance in the future."

Unilever today announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to sell 19 food brands sold across North America to ACH Food Companies, Inc., of Memphis, Tennessee, a subsidiary of Associated British Foods plc. Unilever will receive €406 million (US$360 million) in cash in a transaction expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2002, subject to regulatory approvals and certain other conditions.

The brands and related assets, acquired by Unilever in connection with the October 2000 acquisition of Bestfoods, had combined sales of €350 million (US$310 million) in 2001. The major brands include Mazola cooking oil products, Argo and Kingsford's corn starches, Karo and Golden Griddle syrups and Henri's salad dressing sold in the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada. Additional Canadian brands include Benson’s and Canada corn starches, St. Lawrence/ St. Laurent corn oil, Crown and Bee Hive corn syrups, Old Colony maple syrup and Old Tyme pancake syrup.

Unilever is selling the brands as part of its Path to Growth strategy, which includes a focus on a smaller number of brands in clearly defined categories.

The deal also includes a manufacturing facility in Argo, Illinois. In total, approximately 200 employees will be transferred to ACH Food Companies.

Patrick Cescau, Unilever's Foods Director, said, "These brands simply fall outside of our brand focus. Our foods portfolio in North America, which includes Lipton, Hellmann's, Slim•Fast and Ben & Jerry's, is well-positioned to achieve superior growth performance in the future."

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