Unilever agrees to sell Iberia Foods

Unilever today announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to sell its Iberia Foods business to an affiliate of the Brooklyn Bottling Group ("BBG") of Brooklyn, New York. The sale of this distributor of food and cleaning products to Hispanic-American consumers is expected to be completed by year end. Financials terms of the deal are not being disclosed.

Iberia Foods, which has annual sales of $43 million, services more than 3,000 supermarkets, club stores, wholesalers and distributors in parts of the East Coast of the U.S. Its products are geared toward the tastes and needs of Hispanic Americans.

As part of the agreement, Iberia Foods, through Brooklyn Bottling Group, will continue to distribute certain Unilever products.

BBG is a vertically integrated food and beverage business with manufacturing, warehousing, sales, marketing and distribution capabilities. Through its World Foods division, BBG imports and distributes a product portfolio comprised of Caribbean and Latino foods from its distribution centres in upstate New York, New York City, Miami and Atlanta. In addition, BBG distributes proprietary brands in the soft drink and juice segments.

The proposed sale by Unilever is part of the company’s Path to Growth strategy, a five-year strategic plan announced in February 2000 designed to accelerate top-line growth and further increase operating margins. The plan includes a series of initiatives to focus on fewer, stronger brands and businesses, and to promote faster growth.

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