CHICAGO, April 28 Campbell Soup Co (CPB.N) said
on Monday it would sell its Australian snack foods business and
close a plant in Canada as it looks to cut costs and focus on
core businesses such as its namesake soup.
The company also said it would stop making private label
biscuits and industrial chocolate at its Miranda, Australia,
facility and plans to close that plant, which employs 150
Campbell's expects to take charges related to the actions
of about $230 million combined in the third and fourth quarters
of fiscal 2008. The company said it expected the moves to start
to modestly boost earnings in fiscal year 2009.
The plant in Listowel, Ontario, Canada, employs about 500
people and makes frozen products, including soup, entrees and
Pepperidge Farm products, as well as ramen noodles. Campbell
said it would continue operating the plant for 12 months and
then transfer production to contract manufacturers and its own
Downingtown, Pennsylvania, facility.
On the snacks business, Campbell said it has reached an
agreement to sell the business to a group of Australian
investors, including senior management of The Real McCoy, an
Australian owned snack foods company. The deal would include
the Cheezels, Thins, Tasty Jacks, French Fries, and Kettle
Chips brands, as well as two plants.
Campbell has been taking steps to focus on products like
soup, Pepperidge Farms baked goods and V8 juice. Earlier this
year, it completed the sales of the Godiva chocolate business
to Yidliz Holding A.S., the owner of the Ulker (ULKER.IS)
Group, Turkey's largest food company.
(Reporting by Brad Dorfman; Editing by Andre Grenon and Gunna