Unilever has agreed to sell its North American pasta sauces business under the Ragu and Bertolli brands to Mizkan Group for $2.15bn (£1.3bn).
The transaction includes two production facilities – a sauce processing and packaging facility in Owensboro, Kentucky, and a tomato processing facility in Stockton, California.
“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,” said Kees Kruythoff, president of Unilever North America.
Potential fully realised with Mizkan
“The Ragu and Bertolli business leads the pasta sauce category in the US and we believe that the potential of both brands can be fully realized with Mizkan.”
The deal purely concerns US assets and has no implications for the European market, including the UK. Unilever sold the rights to its Ragu and Chicken Tonight sauces in the UK to Symington’s in 2011, with production to remain at Unilever’s Dutch plant at Oss for at least three years.
Unilever continues its ownership of its UK Bertolli olive oil and spreads business.
The annual turnover for North American Ragu and Bertolli operations is more than $600M (£355.7M).
The transaction, subject to regulatory approval and customary closing conditions, is expected to close by the end of June.