Pittsburgh, June 30 - H.J. Heinz Company (NYSE: HNZ) today announced that its affiliate, H.J. Heinz Company, Limited of London, has acquired John West Foods Limited, the leading brand of canned tuna and fish in the U.K., from Unilever.
"The addition of the John West product line to our European grocery business is another key step in Project Millennia, Heinz's reorganisation and growth plan aimed at strengthening our six global categories and delivering double-digit earnings growth into the next century. This acquisition will give us additional brand strength in Europe and it will enable us to further utilise our low-cost, high-quality tuna processing plants in Ghana and the Seychelles," noted Heinz Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Anthony J.F. O'Reilly. "Tuna is increasingly attractive to consumers as one of the most nutritious, high-value foods, rich in protein and lower in fat than chicken."
Based in Liverpool, John West Foods Limited is a 140-year-old importer, distributor and marketer of canned foods, selling its renowned and respected canned fish products throughout Continental Europe and in a number of other international markets. (John West operations in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa are not included in the Heinz transaction and continue to be a part of Unilever.)
With annual sales of more than US dlrs 250 million, the John West brand currently is sourced from various canneries worldwide.
Terms of the transaction were not released.
With sales approaching dlrs 10 billion, H.J. Heinz Company is one of the world's leading food processors and purveyors of nutritional services. Its 50 affiliates operate in some 200 countries, offering more than 4,000 products. Among the company's famous brands are Heinz, StarKist, Ore-Ida, 9-Lives, Weight Watchers, Wattie's, Plasmon, Farley's, The Budget Gourmet, Earth's Best, Ken-L Ration, Kibbles 'n Bits, Orlando, Olivine, and Guloso.
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SOURCE H. J. Heinz