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    Heinz Signs Agreement to Sell Ethnic Business to Associated British Foods

    LONDON -- H.J. Heinz Company said yesterday its HP Foods business has signed an agreement with Associated British Foods plc group for the sale of HP Foods' Ethnic Foods business, comprising a small part of the HP business acquired in August by Heinz. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

    LONDON -- H.J. Heinz Company said yesterday its HP Foods business has signed an agreement with Associated British Foods plc group for the sale of HP Foods' Ethnic Foods business, comprising a small part of the HP business acquired in August by Heinz. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

    "Selling the HP Ethnic Foods business, which is sold primarily through the ethnic distribution channel, is in line with our strategy of focusing on three core categories where Heinz is a sector leader: ketchup, condiments and sauces; meals and snacks; and infant nutrition," said Joe Jimenez, president and c.e.o., Heinz Europe. Heinz acquired HP Foods to focus on three sauce brands: Lea & Perrins, HP sauces, and a perpetual license to market Amoy Asian sauces brands in Europe.

    The HP Foods Ethnic Food business supplies a wide range of owned and agency brands to the Chinese, Indian, and Thai restaurant sector, as well as specialist retailers. These include Rajah, Green Dragon, Lotus, Maharajah, Cathay, and Dynasty.

    The proposed sale to ABF will include the transfer of 30 employees based in Europe, including the United Kingdom. The UK Competition Commission, currently investigating Heinz's acquisition of HP, has approved the proposed sale. The sale should be completed in the next two months, according to Heinz.

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