Premier Foods has sold its sweet, spreads and jellies business to Hain Celestial for £200m.
The deal comprises the Hartley’s, Robertson’s, Frank Cooper, Keiller, Gales and Sun-Pat brands, as well as the Histon factory where the products are predominantly manufactured.
Hain will pay £170m in cash plus shares worth a further £30m. Premier will use the proceeds of the sale – which is subject to approval by Premier’s shareholders and its lending banks – to pay down debt. It expects to complete the deal by the end of October.
The sale is Premier’s third this year and continues its strategy of selling off non-core brands to reduce its billion-pound debt.
In July it sold its vinegars and pickles business, including the Sarson’s brand, to Mizkan for £41m, while Associated British Foods bought ethnic flour brand Elephant Atta for £34m.
Premier chief executive Michael Clarke said the supplier had now raised £275m of the £330m it was committed to achieving by June 2014.
“Our sweet spreads and jellies business was not core to Premier Foods and our employees in this business will benefit from being part of an international company that is committed to investing in, and growing, these categories,” Clarke said.
Irwin Simon, the founder and chief executive of New York-based Hain, said the swoop furthered its goal to expand into the UK.
“In order for Hain Celestial to become the largest healthy food company in the UK we needed to expand into ambient grocery, where we have seen Health and nutrition gain traction with consumers,” he said.
In a separate move, Hain today sold its own-label chilled ready meals business, International Cuisine, to Irish convenience giant Greencore Group. Hain continues to control the Linda McCartney, New Covent Garden Soup, Johnson’s Juice, Farmhouse Fare and Lovetub brands in the UK.