Sector News

ConAgra to sell spice business for $340 million

May 24, 2016
Food & Drink

ConAgra Foods has agreed to sell its Spicetec Flavors & Seasonings business to Givaudan for about $340 million, according to a ConAgra announcement Monday afternoon.

The divestiture represents yet another bold move by ConAgra in a short period of time to become leaner, more efficient and more profitable in a challenging food industry. Since CEO Sean Connolly came aboard last April, the company has announced the relocation of its corporate headquarters from Omaha, Neb., to Chicago, which is happening next month; the sale of its private-label business to Oak Brook-based TreeHouse Foods; and the spin off of its Lamb Weston frozen potato business.

It’s unclear what will happen to the 140 or so Spicetec employees in suburban Carol Stream. A representative of Givaudan, a Swiss maker of flavors and fragrances, couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.

The Carol Stream plant, which produces patented salt and seasoning blends, had been recently “updated and expanded with state-of-the-art improvements,” according to the Spicetec website. Spicetec develops spices and seasonings for food companies.

In past interviews and earnings calls, Connolly’s been forthright on the urgent need for such changes, as the company shifts its focus to revitalizing core brands, like Slim Jim, Reddi-wip and Chef Boyardee, while also adding new organic and gourmet products to the mix.

“Divesting Spicetec is the latest action we have taken that will allow ConAgra Foods to invest resources into our core product portfolio to drive sustainable growth,” Connolly said in a statement Monday. “We truly appreciate the contributions of the Spicetec employees and look forward to having an ongoing relationship with them as a key supplier to ConAgra Foods.”

ConAgra acquired Spicetec in 1988. The deal’s expected to close in about 60 to 90 days, pending regulatory approval.

By Greg Trotter

Source: Chicago Tribune

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