Unilever sells remaining Bertolli assets to Dutch food maker Enrico-Glasbest

NETHERLANDS – British multinational consumer goods company, Unilever has offloaded its remaining assets in the Bertolli brand to Netherlands-based Enrico-Glasbest for an undisclosed sum.

Enrico-Glasbest will acquire Bertolli’s European pasta sauces, pesto and mayonnaise activities, as well as other trademark rights under the Bertolli licence.

According to a release from Enrico-Glasbest, no staff transfer will take place following the transaction.

The Dutch food maker further noted that no production locations will be taken over and the production of Bertolli products will continue to take place where they are currently produced.

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The company added that, to enable “smooth integration”, a transition period of six months has been agreed, during which Unilever will continue to handle sales and operations for Bertolli.

Robin Heetkamp, managing director of Enrico-Glasbest said: “As a brand, Bertolli fits in seamlessly with the strategy and ambitions of Enrico-Glasbest: the company has shown significant growth in recent years and is ready for this step forward.

Former Unilever employees Jet van Koten, and Aleks Fiege- who now work at Enrico-Glabest as commercial director and director of marketing & NPD respectively- are reported to have  helped to initiate the transaction.

 “Bertolli is an iconic brand with a history of over 150 years. We see enormous potential and in Enrico-Glasbest we have found an ideal home to bring this wonderful brand to bloom again,” stated Koten and Fiege.

Unilever has been gradually offloading parts of the Bertolli brand over the last few years. The company previously sold the olive oil activities of Bertolli to Deoleo in 2008, and offloaded the margarine activities to KKR/Upfield in 2018.

Unilever also offloaded its North American pasta sauce business – which included the Bertolli brand – to Japan-based Mizkan Group in 2014, while the company sold the Bertolli frozen foods operations to Conagra Brands in 2012.

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“Bertolli is simply not very big for Unilever anymore having contributed just 0.3% of sales in the Food & refreshments division in 2019, “noted Bernstein analyst Bruno Monteyne when commenting on the gradual sale of the brand.

Monteyne suggested that “in one sense, this scale means that the disposal is too small to matter to a company of Unilever’s size”.

He further noted that the sale, could in another sense be an important indicator of Unilever’s mergers and acquisition strategy which is focused on exiting lower growth categories.

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