Tilda was acquired by the US food group in 2014

US food giant Hain Celestial group has completed the sale of rice brand Tilda to Spanish food processing business Ebro Foods for $342m (£280m) in cash, as reduces its exposure to UK Brexit uncertainty.

The cash sum represents an adjusted EBITDA multiple of 13.5x, Hain Celestial, which expects to use parts of the proceeds to pay down debt, said.

The company is also evaluating redistribution options for the remaining cash to “maximise value for shareholders”.

“We are pleased to complete the strategic sale of Tilda, which is consistent with our transformational plan to simplify our portfolio, strengthen our core capabilities and expand margins and cash flow,” Hain Celestial President & CEO Mark Schiller said.

“Tilda has been a strong business for us, primarily in the United Kingdom, and under new strategic ownership, we expect the brand to continue to thrive.”

The rice brand, which was acquired by Hain Celestial in 2014, is expected to contribute around $200m in revenues and $25m in adjusted EBITDA for the year ended 30 June 2019.

Schiller added that the sale will reduce the US brand’s exposure to the uncertainty related to the imminent exit of the UK from the European Union.

“This divestiture will enable us to reduce our exposure to marketplace disruption associated with the uncertainty of Brexit and additional future potential foreign currency fluctuations.”

Tilda has two plants in Rainham in the UK and a workforce of 326 employees. Its net sales in the past year, up to June 2019, totalled £152.6m, 60% of which were in the UK and 92% were basmati rice products.

Ebro said the deal will enhance its portfolio of global premium brands in the rice sector and also “acquires a strong foothold in the British market”, where it has to date had only a “token” presence.

Ebro added that Tilda’s international nature will “pave the way for extensive development” with other group products.

Back in May, Hain Celestial sold its WestSoy tofu, seitan and tempeh unit, and its pure protein business as part of a streamlining of its brands protfolio.