Unilever sells Italian frozen foods arm: statement

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Anglo-Dutch food and cosmetics giant Unilever said on Monday it would sell its Italian frozen foods business for 805 million euros (1.04 billion dollars).

"Unilever today announced that it has signed a binding agreement for the sale of its Italian frozen foods business, Findus, to a company in which Birds Eye Iglo has a significant stake, for a consideration of 805 million euros," it said in a statement.

It would not name the company nor the size of the stake held by Britain-based Birds Eye Iglo.

Unilever said that all 650 of Findus' Italian-based factory and head office employees would go to work for the new company.

The sale included Findus' factory in Cisterna, Italy, and brands 4 Salti in Padella, Sofficini, Capitan Findus and That's Amore, and a dedicated factory in Cisterna, Italy.

"With this deal, Unilever is now in a stronger position to focus on its core categories outside frozen foods and to achieve long-term growth in the Italian market," Unilever Italy chairman James Hill said in the statement.

Findus Italy sales amounted to 462 million euros in 2009.

"The transaction is subject to relevant EU anti-trust regulatory approvals," added Unilever, whose key brands include Lipton tea, Magnum ice cream, Dove soap and Knorr sauces.

© 2010 AFP

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