USA – American food group, Hain Celestial has sold its Tilda rice brand to Spain based Ebro Foods for US$342 million, as it continues to simplify its portfolio of brands.

Tilda will contribute approximately US$200 million to net sales and US$25 million to adjusted EBITDA for the fiscal year ended on 30 June, Hain said in a statement.

Hain, a leading organic and natural products company with operations in North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East said it expects to use a portion of the proceeds to pay down debt.

The company, which is set to report its financial results, said that it is also evaluating distribution alternatives for the remainder to maximize value to shareholders.

“We are pleased to complete the strategic sale of Tilda, which is consistent with our transformational plan to simplify our portfolio, strengthen our core capabilities and expand margins and cash flow,” said Mark Schiller, Hain Celestial CEO.

“Tilda has been a strong business for us, primarily in the United Kingdom, and under new strategic ownership, we expect the brand to continue to thrive.

“We believe this transaction represents a significant premium to a majority of other European food and global rice and pasta industry transactions over the last several years.

“In addition, this divestiture will enable us to reduce our exposure to marketplace disruption associated with the uncertainty of Brexit and additional future potential foreign currency fluctuations.”

Tilda has two plants in Rainham, Essex, in the south-east of England, employing around 326 people, according to a Just Food report.

Ebro, which has recently been focused on expanding its organic food business through acquisitions, said the purchase of Tilda would give it a “strong foothold in the UK market, where it has to date had only a token presence”.

The company, which has rice businesses in the US and in Europe in its portfolio, added: “Ebro believes that Tilda’s international nature will pave the way for extensive development with other group products.”

The divestment of Tilda is part of Hain’s programme to trim its portfolio. In May, the company offloaded the WestSoytofu, seitan and tempeh unit as well as Hain Pure Protein Business.

In July, Ebro Foods also agreed to sell its Alimentation Santé organic foods business to Sweden-based Midsona for US$ 63.78 million (€57.5 million)