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Unilever agrees Bertolli olive oil/vinegar sale

Anglo-Dutch consumer goods group Unilever said it had agreed to sell its Bertolli olive oil and vinegar business to Spanish food group Grupo SOS for €630 million.

The deal is part of previously announced plans by Unilever, which makes Dove soap and Sunsilk shampoo, to sell non-core businesses with collective turnover of over €2 billion.

Grupo SOS will acquire the worldwide license for the Bertolli brand in respect of olive oil and premium vinegar.

The deal includes the sale of Unilever's Italian Maya, Dante, and San Giorgio olive oil and seed oil businesses, as well as its factory at Inveruno, Italy.

Unilever will keep the Bertolli brand for all other categories including margarine, pasta sauces, and frozen meals. The Bertolli brand remains a priority for the group “with strong growth plans based on capturing the growing appetite for Mediterranean food products,” it said.

“We look forward to working with Grupo SOS to continue to build the Bertolli brand and create further value,” said Vindi Banga, Unilever president for foods, home, and personal care.

Combined sales for Bertoli olive oil and vinegar and the Maya, Dante, and San Giorgio businesses was about €380 million in 2007.

The deal is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to be completed this year, Unilever said. (Reuters)