Newspaper article International New York Times

Japan's Mizkan to Buy Unilever Pasta Sauces ; Anglo-Dutch Company Is Now Trying to Focus on Personal Care Products

Newspaper article International New York Times

Japan's Mizkan to Buy Unilever Pasta Sauces ; Anglo-Dutch Company Is Now Trying to Focus on Personal Care Products

Article excerpt

The deal to sell its pasta sauce business for $2.15 billion to the Mizkan Group of Japan is Unilever's latest move to focus on higher-margin personal care products.

Unilever said Thursday that it had agreed to sell its North American pasta sauces business under the Ragu and Bertolli brands to the Mizkan Group of Japan for $2.15 billion.

The deal is the latest step in efforts by Unilever, an Anglo- Dutch company, to focus on higher-margin personal care products.

In April, Unilever, whose brands include Vaseline skin care products, Ben & Jerry's ice cream and Lipton tea, announced it was conducting a review of its North American pasta sauces business and of its Slim-Fast weight-loss brand.

"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," Kees Kruythoff, the president of Unilever North America, said in a statement. "The Ragu and Bertolli business leads the pasta sauce category in the United States, and we believe that the potential of both brands can be fully realized with Mizkan."

The sale includes a sauce processing and packaging facility in Owensboro, Ky. …

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