Heinz Closes Lea & Perrins Buy

'The name Heinz is synonymous with great-tasting condiments and sauces,' CEO William Johnson says.
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Heinz

(HNZ)

closed its $820 million purchase

Danone's

(DA)

sauce business, including Lea & Perrins Worcester sauce.

Pittsburgh-based Heinz said the cash transaction "enhances and expands Heinz's global condiment and sauces business by adding popular brands." The sauce business employs 400 people at four locations and had sales of $300 million last year. Heinz said it "will not make any decisions regarding the future of the HP Foods facilities until it completes a comprehensive review in several months."

"The addition of Lea & Perrins, HP sauces and Amoy Asian sauces complements Heinz's leadership in our core condiments and sauces businesses, especially in Europe and North America," CEO William R. Johnson said. "This transaction is perfectly aligned with our strategy to focus on quality brands in three core businesses: ketchup, condiments and sauces; meals and snacks; and infant nutrition.

"The name Heinz is synonymous with great-tasting condiments and sauces," Johnson added. "The brands we have acquired from Groupe Danone are also very popular with consumers and represent a great fit with our product portfolio."

Heinz reiterated that it expects the transaction to be accretive to earnings for fiscal 2007, which begins on May 4, 2006.

On Tuesday, Heinz rose a nickel to $36.29.