Conagra Brands to explore strategic alternatives for frozen pasta business

EUROPE – The North American packaged foods company, Conagra Brands has said that it is exploring strategic alternatives for its frozen pasta business, Gelit, headquartered in Ninfa, Italy.

The company has started the process led by BNP Paribas, a French international banking group and has neither set a timetable for the strategic process nor made any decisions relating to any strategic alternatives.

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

It employs approximately 145 full-time employees, operates a stand-alone, state-of-the-art facility located in Doganella di Ninfa, and supplies products to a broad range of international customers.

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.

Last year, Conagra bought Pinnacle Foods for US410.9 billion in a deal to expand its frozen foods and snacks category.

Pinnacle Foods’ range include frozen, refrigerated and shelf-stable brands such as Birds Eye, Duncan Hines, Earth Balance, Evol, Erin’s, Gardein, Glutino, Log Cabin, Tim’s Cascade Snacks, Udi’s, Vlasic, and Wish-Bone.

The recent development involved the decision to offload its Wesson range of canola and vegetable cooking oils to Richardson International.

The transaction included the Wesson production facility in Memphis, Tennessee offering vegetable oil, canola oil, corn oil and blended oils. 

JM Smucker Company terminated its agreement to acquire the Wesson Oil Brand after the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) raised eyebrows around competition concerns.

In the second quarter of fiscal year 2019, the company’s net sales grew 9.7%, driven primarily by the Pinnacle acquisition.

Diluted earnings per share (EPS) from continuing operations decreased from US$0.54 to US$0.32 in the quarter, and adjusted diluted EPS from continuing operations grew 21.8% from US$0.55 to US$0.67.

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