Unilever today announced that it has signed an agreement for the sale of its North America pasta sauces business under the Ragu and Bertolli brands to Mizkan Group for a total cash consideration of approximately $2.15 billion. The annual turnover for Ragu and Bertolli is more than $600 million.
The transaction includes two production facilities – a sauce processing and packaging facility in Owensboro, Kentucky, and a tomato processing facility in Stockton, California.
Kees Kruythoff, president of Unilever North America, said: “This sale represents one of the final steps in reshaping our portfolio in North America to deliver sustainable growth for Unilever, and enables us to sharpen our focus within our foods business.The Ragu and Bertolli business leads the pasta sauce category in the United States, and we believe that the potential of both brands can be fully realized with Mizkan.”
The transaction, subject to regulatory approval and customary closing conditions, is expected to close by the end of June.CAUTIONARY STATEMENT This announcement may contain forward-looking statements, including ‘forward-looking statements’ within the meaning of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as ‘will’, ‘aim’, ‘expects’, ‘anticipates’, ‘intends’, ‘looks’, ‘believes’, ‘vision’, or the negative of these terms and other similar expressions of future performance or results, and their negatives, are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are based upon current expectations and assumptions regarding anticipated developments and other factors affecting the Unilever group (the “Group”). They are not historical facts, nor are they guarantees of future performance. Because these forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, there are important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. Among other risks and uncertainties, the material or principal factors which could cause actual results to differ materially are: Unilever’s global brands not meeting consumer preferences; Unilever’s ability to innovate and remain competitive; Unilever’s investment choices in its portfolio management; inability to find sustainable solutions to support long-term growth; customer relationships; the recruitment and retention of talented employees; disruptions in our supply chain; the cost of raw materials and commodities; the production of safe and high quality products; secure and reliable IT infrastructure; successful execution of acquisitions, divestitures and business transformation projects; economic and political risks and natural disasters; financial risks; failure to meet high ethical standards; and managing regulatory, tax and legal matters. Further details of potential risks and uncertainties affecting the Group are described in the Group’s filings with the London Stock Exchange, Euronext in Amsterdam and the US Securities and Exchange Commission, including the Group’s Annual Report on Form 20-F for the year ended 31 December 2013 and Annual Report and Accounts 2013. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this announcement. Except as required by any applicable law or regulation, the Group expressly disclaims any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statements contained herein to reflect any change in the Group’s expectations with regard thereto or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based.