Kraft acquires European confectionery business
Kraft Foods reached an agreement to acquire the Central and Eastern European confectionery business of the German-based Stollwerck A.G.

The acquisition enhances Kraft Foods’ confectionery presence in the region and significantly expands Kraft’s overall business in Russia. The company will acquire Stollwerck’s Russian, Polish, and Hungarian businesses with brands including Alpen Gold, Pokrov, Tibi, and Americana. Stollwerck’s manufacturing facilities are located in Poznan, Poland; Budapest, Hungary; and Pokrov, Russia, one of the largest confectionery plants in the country. Stollwerck’s 2000 revenues for these businesses were approximately $150 million.

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals required in the respective countries. The agreement will not affect Stollwerck’s remaining business in Germany and the rest of Europe. Based in Northfield, Ill., Kraft Foods produces and markets many of the world’s leading food brands, including Kraft Cheese, Jacobs and Maxwell House coffees, Nabisco cookies and crackers, Philadelphia cream cheese, Oscar Mayer meats, Post cereals and Milka chocolates, in more than 140 countries.

Domino Sugar sold
Tate & Lyle PLC has agreed to sell its North American sugar operations with the Domino Sugar brand for $180 million to an investment group led by a Florida family.

The investment group, led by the Fanjul family, will purchase the operation, which includes the Domino brand name and Domino’s plants in Baltimore, New York, and Chalmette, La. Domino will be combined with Refined Sugars of Yonkers, N.Y., a refinery in which the Fanjuls have an interest. The combined operation will be called Domino Sugar. The companies controlled by the Fanjuls will own 61% of Domino Sugar, and Sugar Cane Growers Cooperative of Florida will own the other 39%. The combined operation will produce more than two million tons of refined sugar and specialty products a year and have annual revenues of more than $1 billion.

Danisco Cultor opens new confectionery lab
After a year of planning and building, Danisco Cultor’s new confectionery and fruit prep laboratories in Kansas City are now open.

The new labs give Danisco Cultor’s confectionery and fruit prep group approximately four times more lab space than they previously occupied. Included in these new labs is a 450-sq-ft temperature- and humidity-controlled dry lab which allows the company to work with low-moisture products, such as chocolate and panned confections, year round. The labs contain state-of-the-art equipment which includes atmospheric-type and vacuum kettles equipped with precise temperature controls which can be used for 1- to 50-lb test batches.

The combined fruit-preparation and confectionery labs will see a variety of work ranging from chocolate, chewy candy, and hard boils on the candy side, to jams, jellies, bakery fillings, and yogurt fruit preps on the fruit side. The labs can function as extended R&D departments for major customers, often delivering turnkey products.

Based in New Century, Kans., Danisco develops and produces food ingredients.

Heinz to buy Mexican frozen food company
The H.J. Heinz Co. has purchased Delimex, a San Diego–based rapidly growing producer and distributor of branded frozen Mexican foods, from Fenway Partners, Inc., a New York-based private investment firm.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Delimex, which supplies high-quality frozen Mexican foods to retail supermarkets and warehouse clubs nationally, had sales of more than $150 million last year. Its sales growth has averaged more than 20% annually since 1993. The company employs about 800 in San Diego and Monterrey, Mexico.

The purchase will give Heinz a solid base for building a branded Mexican line, Heinz Frozen Food President Neil Harrison said. Earlier this year, Heinz completed buying Borden Foods Corp.’s pasta sauce, dry bouillon, and soup businesses, giving it popular brands such as Classico pasta sauce, Aunt Millie’s pasta sauce, and Wyler’s bouillons and soups. Based in Pittsburgh, Pa., Heinz’s brands include Heinz ketchup, StarKist tuna, Bagel Bites, Ore-Ida frozen potatoes, and 9-Lives pet food.

Rohm Enzyme changes name to AB Enzymes
Rohm Enzyme GmbH, Darmstadt, Germany, has belonged for two years to one of largest groups in the food industry. Now, the company is adapting its name to that of its parent company, ABITEC, Ltd.

As of September 1, 2001, Rohm Enzyme GmbH changed its name to AB Enzymes GmbH. ABITEC, a subsidiary of Associated British Foods, with annual sales of 4.4 billion pounds. The company will continue to be based in Darmstadt, although it will move to a new location this autumn. The parent company in the United Kingdom is helping with the construction of a new building. The number of employees with the company has risen by about 20% since 1999.

AB Enzymes is one of the world’s leading producers of enzymes for the food sector.

Stapleton-Spence and Sunsweet announce partnership
Stapleton-Spence Packing Co., a dried fruit and nut producer and marketer, and Sunsweet Growers, Inc., a dried plum grower cooperative, have announced a partnership covering dried plum products for foodservice.

Under the arrangement, Stapleton-Spence will handle sales, marketing, and manufacturing of foodservice private label and Sunsweet branded items including canned prunes, prune juice, bulk prunes, and assorted dried fruit.

Together, the companies will streamline production and distribution systems to cut costs and find innovative ways to bring new products and opportunities to their customers.

Based in San Jose, Calif., Stapleton-Spence has dehydrating and processing facilities in Yuba City and Gridley, Calif. Based in Yuba City, Sunsweet Growers is a cooperative with 650 growers/members and produces a full line of dried fruit snacks.

Assistant Editor