General Mills to acquire Brazilian food company

by Eric Schroeder
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MINNEAPOLIS — General Mills, Inc. has signed an agreement to acquire Yoki Alimentos S.A., a privately-held food company headquartered in Sao Bernardo do Campo, Brazil. The transaction comes less than two weeks after General Mills acquired the ready-to-cook spice and sauce mix product line produced by Parampara Foods, Maharashtra, India. The transaction in Brazil is expected to close during the first half of General Mills’ 2013 fiscal year.

Founded in 1960, Yoki is a family-owned Brazilian company whose Yoki and Kitano branded products hold leading market positions in several food categories, including popcorn and snack nuts, side dishes, dry soups, grains and beans, and seasonings. The company has more than 5,000 employees and posted sales of approximately $527 million in 2011.

“We are delighted to add Yoki’s talented people and strong brands to General Mills’ growing international business,” said Chris O’Leary, executive vice-president and chief operating officer — International, at General Mills. “Yoki adds key capabilities and geographic scale that will accelerate our growth in Brazil. We plan to focus on building the strong Yoki and Kitano product portfolio, expanding our current Haagen-Dazs and Nature Valley businesses in Brazil, and introducing additional General Mills brands in this important market over time.”

Mitsuo Matsunaga, chief executive officer of Yoki, added, “I am very pleased to see our Yoki brands and businesses joining General Mills. Our family is confident that General Mills' global capabilities, combined with Yoki's outstanding employees and brand portfolio, will lead to accelerated growth in Brazil for years to come.”

The acquisitions of Parampara Foods and Yoki are part of a rapidly growing international business at General Mills. The company has said fiscal 2012 international segment net sales are expected to exceed $4 billion, including sales from the Yoplait International yogurt business acquired July 1, 2011. The addition of Yoki will more than double General Mills’ annual sales in Latin America to nearly $1 billion.

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