Unilever, the world’s second- biggest consumer products company, said it will seek a buyer for its Findus frozen food business in Italy as it shifts away from local labels to focus on international brands.
Findus has annual sales of more than 450 million euros ($599 million) and a factory in Cisterna, Italy, the London- and Rotterdam-based company said today in an e-mail.
Unilever plans to sell more personal-care products in Europe following the acquisition of Sara Lee Corp.’s Sanex and other soap brands. Four years ago, the maker of Flora spreads and Axe deodorants sold its Iglo and Birds Eye frozen food brands in countries including Germany and France to Permira Advisers LLP.
Selling Findus “would enable us to focus on our other categories, increasing investment in brands which will deliver higher levels of growth and shareholder value,” James Hill, chairman of Unilever Italy, said in a statement.
Founded as a canned fruit and liqueur factory in Sweden in 1905, Findus was purchased by Nestle SA, the world’s biggest food maker, in 1963. Unilever in 1985 bought Nestle’s stake in a joint venture the two companies had started in 1963 to sell frozen foods and ice cream in Germany and Austria under the Iglo brand and in Italy under the Findus name.
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