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Food ingredients weekly business roundup

20-May-2005

Imperial Sugar received an offer of acquisition earlier this week, while Cargill announced its intentions to further invest in Brazilian sugar and General Mills had its rating outlook revised from negative to stable.

Imperial Sugar , one of the largest processors and marketers of refined sugar in the United States, has received an offer of acquisition from a current shareholder.

The unsolicited indication of interest in acquiring all of the company's outstanding shares comes from Schultze Asset Management, LLC. Schultze's non-binding proposal provides for a purchase price of $17.00 per share, subject to completion of due diligence and definitive documentation.

 

Meanwhile, James Richardson International (JRI) has bought ConAgra Foods' network of four high-throughput elevators in Western Canada. JRI's chief executive said that the move pushes back against creeping control of the Canadian grain industry by multinationals.

 

The price of the deal, announced by JRI on Wednesday, was not disclosed. ConAgra intends to continue to operate a grain merchandising office and oat mill in Canada.

 

Cargill announced today that it has agreed in principle to invest in the Açucareira Corona sugar mills in Brazil through a joint venture with Crystalsev and Fluxo. The joint venture would encompass Açucareira Corona's Bonfim and Tamoio mills, the company's lands, long-term leases and customer portfolio as well as approximately 7,000 employees.

 

"Cargill has analyzed the important, growing sugar and alcohol market in Brazil for some time, and has made the strategic decision to become more active in this sector," said Sergio Barroso, president of Cargill Brazil.

 

American Dairy , a leading producer of milk powder and soybean products in China through its wholly owned subsidiary Feihe Dairy, has announced a $1,443,373 or a 121 per cent increase in net income to $2,633,328 during the three months ended 31 March 2005.

 

The company believes that the dairy milk industry scandal in China in 2003 and 2004 and the resulting strict control over dairy producers' quality and ingredients has driven many unscrupulous dairy producers out of the market.

 

Corn Products International announced this week that it is hosting its 2005 Analyst/Portfolio Manager Day on 25 May. The session will provide investors with an update on the Company's business performance.

 

Corn Products International is one of the world's largest corn refiners and a major supplier of food ingredients, and is the number-one worldwide producer of dextrose.

 

And finally, Fitch has revised its Rating Outlook for General Mills to Stable from Negative.

 

The Stable Rating Outlook recognizes General Mills' debt reduction progress since its fiscal 2002 acquisition of Pillsbury. The company had set a goal to reduce debt by $2 billion during fiscal years 2004-2006.

 

Nearly two years into the debt reduction program, Fitch anticipates General Mills will achieve substantially all of the targeted debt reduction by its fiscal 31 May 2005 year-end. Debt reduction accelerated during the fiscal fourth quarter of 2005 with the $710 million net proceeds from the recent sale of its Snack Ventures Europe (SVE) joint venture interest.