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ConAgra moves into packaged fruit/veg with Del Monte Canada acquisition

By Elaine Watson , 17-Jan-2012

ConAgra Foods has struck a deal to buy packaged fruit, veg and snacks maker Del Monte Canada Inc from an affiliate of Sun Capital Partners for an undisclosed sum.

The agreement includes all Del Monte branded packaged fruit, fruit snacks and vegetable products sold in Canada, plus Aylmer tomato products, along with a manufacturing facility in Dresden, Ontario, and offices in Toronto, Ontario.

However, Del Monte fresh produce, juices, and Aylmer soups will remain under separate ownership.

The deal reflected ConAgra’s strategy to grow its core business, expand into strategic adjacencies and build its international presence, and followed the recent acquisition of private label snack maker National Pretzel Company, said chief executive Gary Rodkin.

“It will grow our position in North American tomato products, expand our vegetable product line and add packaged fruit and fruit snacks to our portfolio.”

Rodkin: A pipeline of alternatives to Ralcorp…

ConAgra, which made multiple abortive attempts to buy Ralcorp last year, told investors he was pursuing a “pipeline of alternatives” after finally walking away from Ralcorp last fall.

Speaking on a conference call in December about ConAgra’s second quarter results, Rodkin added: “As you've heard us say consistently over the past several quarters, we continue to pursue growth through acquisitions.

“We will continue to pursue opportunities where there is a strategic fit and a good financial return. And as we have demonstrated, we are ready and willing to leverage our capabilities and our balance sheet to create value by investing for growth. And we will do so with discipline.”

Del Monte Canada has 190 employees and generated sales of c. $150m in 2011.

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