Conagra Brands has entered into an agreement to divest its Italy-based frozen pasta business Gelit to a group of Italian investors.
Chicago-headquartered Conagra had announced in January that it was exploring strategic alternatives for the unit. Based in Doganella di Ninfa, Gelit employs approximately 145 people full time and supplies products to a range of international customers. It makes Italian frozen food, sauces and ready meals.
The business has been bought by private equity firms Consilum and Progressio and entrepreneur Massimo Menna. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Conagra bought Gelit as part of its deal for private label food manufacturer Ralcorp in 2012, months after Ralcorp had itself acquired the Italian firm.
In its third-quarter results published in March, Conagra recorded a 35.7% increase in net sales on the year-ago period, driven primarily by the $10.9 billion Pinnacle Foods acquisition. The deal saw Conagra expand its presence and capabilities the frozen foods and snacks segments, taking hold of brands such as Birds Eye and Gardein.
In February, Conagra announced a $78 million investment to modernise its Birds Eye operations in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin.
The expansion of the 350,000-square-foot cold storage and vegetable packaging facility is expected to create around 140 full-time jobs over the next five years.
By Jules Scully
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