THE Hillshire Brands Co. announced last week an agreement to sell its Australian bakery business, named Kitchens of Sara Lee, to McCain Foods Ltd. for $82 million (Australian; $85 million U.S.).
The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory review, but is scheduled to be completed in the first half of next year, the announcement said.
The Australian business has about 500 employees and one primary manufacturing facility in Australia and produces and sells bakery and other food products for foodservice and retail customers in the country and other parts of the Pacific Rim. Its brands include Sara Lee.
McCain, based in Florenceville, N.B., is the world's largest producers of French fries and other oven-ready frozen food products, including appetizers, pizzas, vegetables and desserts. It has sales totaling $6.5 billion (Canadian; $6.6 billion U.S.).
The sale will enable Hillshire to focus on its foodservice and retail supply businesses in North America, chief executive officer Sean Connolly said.
Hillshire, headquartered in Downers Grove, Ill., was formed when Sara Lee Corp. was separated into an international coffee and tea company and Hillshire, a meat-centric supplier to foodservice and retail customers (Feedstuffs, July 9).
Its brands include Hillshire Farms, Ball Park, Jimmy Dean and State Fair, plus the Sara Lee and Chef Pierre bakery products and desserts. Hillshire is expected to generate $4 billion in sales in its first year.