* Heinz reported in advanced talks for Brazil deal
* Deal could be worth up to $600 million
(Adds no comment from Heinz)
RIO DE JANEIRO Feb 25 H.J. Heinz Co HNZ.N is
in advanced stages of talks for an acquisition or merger in
Brazil that could be worth up to 1 billion reais ($600
million), a Brazilian newspaper reported on Friday.
Citing an unnamed executive with knowledge of the talks,
financial daily Valor Economico said Heinz planned to acquire
or partner with unlisted Brazilian food company Quero
Alimentos, which has annual sales of about 600 million reais.
Heinz currently has no direct operations in Brazil, one of
the world's fastest-growing emerging economies, and sells
products such as its trademark ketchup through import
distributors, Valor said.
Heinz Chief Executive Officer William Johnson said on
Thursday that emerging markets would make up as much of a third
of the company's sales in about five years.
"I have never seen more M&A opportunities in emerging
markets than I am seeing now," he told the annual meeting of
the Consumer Analyst Group of New York in Boca Raton, Florida.
Heinz declined to comment. No one was immediately available
at Quero Alimentos to comment on the report.
(Reporting by Stuart Grudgings; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and
Gerald E. McCormick)