Conagra Brands agrees to sell frozen food unit Gelit to Italian firm

ITALY – Conagra Brands has entered a definitive agreement to sell its Italian-based frozen pasta business, Gelit to Italian investors for an undisclosed amount.

The company which makes brands such as Hunt’s, Healthy Choice, Marie Callender’s has divested the business unit to an Italian investment company owned by Consilum SGR S.p.A., Progressio SGR S.p.A., and MMM S.r.l.

The transaction, which is subject to customary closing conditions, includes the sale of Conagra Brands’ entire equity interest in Gelit S.r.l.

Gelit is headquartered in Doganella di Ninfa, employs approximately 145 people full time and supplies products to a range of international customers.

It is a leading producer of authentic Italian frozen food and ready meals, primarily for private label customers.

In January, Conagra announced that it was exploring strategic alternatives for the Gelit business.

Gelit became part of Conagra Brands when the Chicago-based firm acquired Ralcorp, an American manufacturer of breakfast cereal and chocolate.

Ralcorp acquired Gelit factory in 2012, expanding its portfolio of private-brand, frozen ready meals sold in Italy and the US.

In the second quarter of fiscal year 2019, Conagra reported that net sales grew 9.7%, while organic net sales excluding the sale of the Trenton, Missouri production facility (Trenton), decreased 1.6%.

The company sales the results were primarily driven by acquisition of the Pinnacle Foods, in a transaction valued at US$10.9 billion.

The company also offloaded its Wesson range of canola and vegetable cooking oils to Richardson International.

The deal involved the Wesson production facility in Memphis, Tennessee and Wesson’s offering including vegetable oil, canola oil, corn oil and blended oils.

Earlier this year, Conagra said it is investing more than US$78 million in modernising and expanding its Birds Eye factory in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin.

The expansion is expected to create around 140 full-time jobs over the next five years at the 350,000-square-foot site.

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