Unilever is buying out its partner Ajinomoto in their 50:50 Asian foods joint venture CPC/Aji Asia for $381m.
CPC/Aji was set up as a joint venture between Bestfoods ­ which Unilever bought in 2000 ­ and Ajinomoto in 1987.
The venture has six factories located in Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia, Taiwan with two in the Philippines.
A sales office is in Singapore and the company employs almost 1,900 people.
CPC/Aji's leading brands, which accounted for more than 80% of 2002 sales of $330m, include Hellmann's mayonnaise, Knorr and Skippy peanut butter.

Oz food sales
Australia's largest retailer Coles Myer announced a 5.5% rise in turnover but said Christmas trading had declined 4.1%. CEO John Fletcher said the group had interim sales to January 26 of A$13.8bn and was on track to deliver full earnings of between A$425m and A$435m.
Sales in the food and liquor division rose 5.3%, Kmart and Officeworks combined sales rose by 9.5% and Target sales increased 8.6% over the half.

eyes south
Costco said that it was considering Australia and New Zealand as targets for international expansion. Chairman of the US warehouse club Jeffrey Brotman said that any decision was at least "six to 12 months away". Costco operates 100 stores in six markets outside the US. It has 15 depots in the UK.

profits hit
Christian Salvesen has issued a profit warning partly due to "disappointing results" from its food, consumer and industrial businesses in the UK.  The European logistics group said it expected annual profits to be about 20% below current market expectations. 

In the UK  traditionally its strongest business profits were said to have been impacted by continuing pricing pressures, softer volumes and by the start-up of the new cold store sites at Bedworth and Easton.