Ebro Foods to acquire Canada Bread’s fresh pasta business

by Eric Schroeder
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MADRID, SPAIN — Ebro Foods S.A. has agreed to acquire Olivieri Foods, the fresh pasta and sauce business of Toronto-based Canada Bread Company, Ltd., for approximately C$120 million ($115 million). The transaction is expected to close by the end of 2013.

“The acquisition of Olivieri is an important strategic operation for Ebro, which will enter the Canadian fresh pasta and sauces segment through its leading brand, thus consolidating our position as No. 1 in all categories in which we operate,” said Antonio Hernandez Callejas, chairman of Ebro Foods. “Ebro already has a strong presence in Canada through Catelli Foods, with the Catelli brand for dry pasta and Minute Rice products.

“The consolidation of Olivieri will also produce numerous additional synergies with our European fresh pasta business headed by Lustucru Frais, in commercial, industrial and marketing aspects.”

Richard Lan, president and chief executive officer of Canada Bread, said the sale of Olivieri represents “an excellent opportunity to optimize the value of our fresh pasta business, while realizing its potential under a company dedicated to expanding in the global pasta industry.”

“With the leading Canadian brand in fresh pasta, a strong consumer and customer base and highly skilled employees, this acquisition provides Ebro Foods with an excellent growth platform,” Mr. Lan said.

Olivieri Foods had total sales of C$105.5 million in 2012 and employs approximately 375 people. The business manufactures flat and filled fresh pasta products and sauces at its facilities in Hamilton, Ont., and Delta, B.C.

Earlier this week, Maple Leaf Foods said it has begun to explore strategic alternatives that may lead to the sale of its 90% holding in Canada Bread Company Ltd. Maple Leaf said the decision to explore options for its Bakery segment comes as the company reaches the “final phase” of a seven-year project to enhance its protein business by increasing its scale and improving its productivity and profitability.

Ebro Foods is a multinational food group operating in the rice, pasta and sauces sectors. The company is the second largest pasta manufacturer in the world.
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