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Kerry buys two businesses for 50 mln euros


Kerry, the global ingredients, flavours and consumer foods Group, today announced the acquisition of Aromont S.A. headquartered in Montcornet, France and the proposed acquisition of Stearns & Lehman Inc., headquartered in Mansfield, Ohio, USA. The businesses are being acquired for a total consideration of €50m approximately.

Stearns & Lehman is a leading manufacturer of coffeehouse chain, foodservice and branded Italian-style flavoured syrups, beverage flavourings and toppings for the speciality coffee and beverage industries. Kerry will pay approximately US$26m for the business of Stearns &Lehman Inc. The transaction is subject to Stearns & Lehman shareholder approval.

The business, with 2001 sales of US$20m, is one of the largest flavouring syrup manufacturers in the world and the leading private label manufacturer of Italian-style syrups in the United States, Canada, Europe and the Pacific Rim. With manufacturing facilities in Ohio, Washington, Canada and a planned new facility in the UK, the business, complementing Kerry's global foodservice operations, has a capacity to considerably strengthen its position as a leading provider of private label coffee syrups and to accelerate its growth through an expanded product offering to an expanded target market.

Commenting on the proposed acquisition of Stearns & Lehman, Mr. Hugh Friel, Managing Director of Kerry Group, said that the continued growth in international speciality coffee markets and the expansion of foodservice provide excellent opportunities for Stearns & Lehman beverage products and flavourings. "With Kerry's focus on foodservice markets and its global presence, the addition of this specialist beverage flavouring technology represents an exciting new development for the Group", he added.

Aromont S.A. is a leading producer of high quality authentic natural culinary ingredients and liquid sauces for the European ready meals, meal solutions and foodservice industries. Operating from a state-of-the-art facility based in Montcornet, France, the business excels in the production, development and manufacture of unique culinary ingredients and systems for fast growing segments of the prepared foods, food processor and foodservice industries.

"Complementing the recent acquisition of Voyager Foods in the UK, the addition of Aromont is a further significant step in Kerry's strategy to develop a leading position in the culinary ingredients sector throughout European markets," Mr. Friel added.

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