Unilever, in what it called an "important acquisition," said it plans to buy the French culinary foods marketer Amora Maille from Paribas Affaires Industrielles LBO Fund for $745 million in cash. It said the Amora brand will become its culinary brand in France and serve as a platform to roll out existing and new products, and that the Maille brand will be positioned as Unilever's global delicatessen brand. Amora Maille is the No. 1 culinary foods marketer in France, according to Unilever, in a product category the global marketer has identified as offering superior opportunities for growth. The Amora brand includes bouillon, ketchup, mustards, salad dressing and seasonings. The deluxe Maille line of delicatessen items includes mustards, olive oil, special sauces and vinegars. Unilever said Amora Maille is expected to generate 1999 sales of approximately $364 million and operating profit of $44 million. Unilever said the European market for culinary products is currently valued at $1.5 billion. With the acquisition of Amora Maille, Unilever said its share of the European culinary market will expand from 9% to 12%. Completion of the acquisition requires approval from European regulatory authorities, Unilever said.
Copyright November 1999, Crain Communications Inc.