Tyson Foods expands prepared foods portfolio with acquisition

by Keith Nunes
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SPRINGDALE, ARK. — Tyson Foods, Inc. has acquired Circle Foods L.L.C., San Diego, Calif., from Claridge, Inc., a private equity investment company headquartered in Montreal. Circle Foods is a manufacturer of frozen and refrigerated handheld Mexican foods, uncooked tortillas and Indian flatbreads. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Circle Foods manufactures products under the Nuevo Grille, Tortillaland and Rotiland brands. The company has a 159,000-square-foot facility in San Diego and employs approximately 600. The plant produces burritos, chimichangas, enchiladas, quesadillas, tacos and tamales, as well as tortillas and Indian flatbreads.

“Claridge and the Circle Foods team have developed an outstanding portfolio of products and customers, with a fantastic plant and workforce, and will be an excellent fit within our branded consumer products group,” said Donnie Smith, president and chief executive officer of Tyson Foods. “We believe Tyson’s robust sales structure, as well as our frozen and refrigerated foods distribution system, will enable this business to accelerate its growth.”

Tyson Foods management has been very open about the fact it wants to expand its prepared foods offerings. In early February the company acquired Don Julio Foods, Clearfield, Utah, a manufacturer of flour and corn tortillas, potato chips, tortilla chips and pretzels.

A few weeks later, Dennis Leatherby, Tyson Foods’ chief financial officer, said expanding the company’s value-added offerings was a goal.

“Value-added is currently about a third of our sales, and keep in mind that includes food service as well as retail, branded products,” Mr. Leatherby said at the Goldman Sachs Agribusiness Conference on Feb. 26.
Looking ahead to 2014 he said Tyson Foods expects to grow its total sales by 3% to 4% annually and value-added sales by approximately 6% to 8%. During fiscal 2012, ended Sept. 29, 2012, Tyson Foods had revenues of $33,278 million.

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