ConAgra sells fresh vegetable unit - The Packer

ConAgra sells fresh vegetable unit

06/11/2010 02:14:56 PM
Bruce Blythe

ConAgra Foods Inc. plans to sell part of its Gilroy Foods & Flavors unit, including a California fresh vegetable business, to Olam International for $250 million.

The sale includes a Hanford, Calif., fresh-cut celery and garlic plant, as well as dehydrated vegetable operations elsewhere in the Western U.S., Omaha, Neb.-based ConAgra said in a June 7 news release.

Gary Rodkin, ConAgra’s chief executive officer, said in the release the sale is part of an ongoing strategy to divest non-core operations “to continuously improve our focus,” according to the release.

Olam’s “global leadership” in food ingredients will provide Gilroy’s dehydrated and vegetable products business “more attention and resources for growth.”

The Gilroy dehydrated and vegetable products business, which includes Controlled Moisture, GardenFrost and Redi-Made brands, generated about $300 million in revenue during ConAgra’s fiscal 2010, the company said.

Other Gilroy plants included in the sale are located in Gilroy and Modesto, Calif., Fernley, Nev., Las Cruces, N.M. and Umatilla, Ore., ConAgra said.

The sale is expected to be completed in 30 to 60 days, the company said. ConAgra will retain Gilroy’s seasoning blends and flavors segment.

For Olam, the purchase will mark further U.S. expansion for the Singapore-based food processor.

Last year, Olam bought SK Foods LP, a Monterey, Calif.-based tomato processor, out of bankruptcy for $39 million. The purchase also included SK Food subsidiary RHM Industrial/Specialty Foods Inc.

SK Foods LP filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in May 2009 amid pressure from several lenders, including Bank of America and the Bank of Montreal.



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