Raisio, McNeil sign deal on Benecol

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HELSINKI - Finnish functional foods company Raisio has signed an agreement with U.S.-based McNeil Consumer Healthcare on a global distribution and marketing strategy regarding the Raisio cholesterol-reducing margarine Benecol.

They have agreed McNeil will focus on the North American market, Japan, China and the European Union. Raisio will continue to take charge in Finland, Sweden and Denmark. Raisio's Benecol territory will also include the Baltic Rim countries, the former Eastern Bloc, Middle East, Latin America, South East Asia and Oceania.

"We want to develop Benecol as the leading brand in the niche area of cholesterol-lowering foods. And together with McNeil we have a global partner strong enough to penetrate new markets, and grow in current markets,"says Raisio spokesman Sten von Hellen.

Significantly, under the agreement both Raisio and McNeil are free to appoint, in their respective territories, third parties such as leading national and multinational food companies to extend the Benecol product portfolio. Third party products will be marketed under the Benecol brand, either as brand or co-brands, says Mr. von Hellen.

Copyright December 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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