California Olive Ranch has acquired Lucini Italia

California Olive Ranch has acquired Lucini Italia

US olive oil producer California Olive Ranch has acquired local sauces, soup and dressings producer Lucini Italia from Argentinian food group Molinos Rio de la Plata.

Molinos has been a shareholder in Lucini Italia since 2011 and only last August attained majority control of the business.

The group will take a "significant minority share" in the combined California Olive Ranch and Lucini Italia, which will have revenues in excess of US$80m in 2015, the companies said.

California Olive Ranch and Lucini Italia will continue to operate under their own labels.

The deal allows California Olive Ranch to enter the sauce, vinaigrette, and vinegar categories. Gregg Kelley, the CEO of California Olive Ranch, said: "We see strong growth in the premium segment in coming years and we think these two brands are best positioned to prosper as consumers trade up to better quality."

California Olive Ranch and Lucini Italia's combined share of the extra virgin olive oil category makes it the fourth-largest brand in the US with 4.45% of US retail sales, the companies said.

Molinos said: "The two companies are a natural fit, and the combination creates a very attractive go-to-market proposition with potential for rapid expansion in the US."