Campbell Soup Company (NYSE: CPB) has completed the previously announced purchase of several market-leading soup and sauce businesses in Europe from Unilever. The purchase price was 1 billion Euros or approximately 900 million U.S. dollars. Campbell announced this acquisition agreement with Unilever on January 29, 2001. The European Commission gave its approval to the transaction on April 3.

The businesses, with combined annual sales of approximately $400 million, include three instant dry soup brands -- "Batchelors" in the United Kingdom, "Royco" in France and Belgium, and "Heisse Tasse" in Germany -- and "Oxo" bouillon cubes in the United Kingdom. These instant dry soup and bouillon brands are the top sellers in their respective markets with solid profit and growth profiles. The agreement also includes additional businesses in Belgium, France, Ireland, Sweden, Finland, and the Netherlands.

"We are very pleased to welcome these new businesses to Campbell. They are a key strategic step toward building our global soup presence," said Douglas R. Conant, Campbell President and Chief Executive Officer. "Adding these strong brands to our existing European portfolio -- and the people who make them strong -- gives Campbell market leadership across key European soup markets as well as important penetration in certain sauce markets. The new Campbell Europe will be a powerful soup and sauce business focused on delivering superior performance."

This acquisition of well-established instant dry soup brands expands Campbell's global soup franchise and strengthens its current market positions in the U.K., France, Germany and Belgium. In 1997 Campbell purchased "Liebig," the leading wet soup in France. In 1996 Campbell acquired "Erasco," the leading wet soup in Germany. In 1995 Campbell acquired "Homepride," the leading cooking sauce in the U.K. Since acquisition, all three businesses have increased their market shares and delivered consistent sales growth.

The combined new businesses have six manufacturing sites in the U.K., Ireland, France, Sweden and the Netherlands and approximately 1,300 employees. Pierre Laubies, President of Campbell Europe, heads the expanded European business, which now totals approximately 3,200 employees and 11 manufacturing sites.

"The people of the new Campbell Europe will have an exceptional platform for growing our business now across the soup and sauce categories," Laubies said. "This strategic combination creates significant opportunities for Campbell in new categories, channels and countries and brings together a talented team who will maximize those opportunities. Our new colleagues are important members of this team and we look forward to their contributions."

    Campbell's new major European brands include:

    BRANDS              COUNTRY              CATEGORY

    Batchelors
    Oxo                 United Kingdom       Instant Dry Soup
                                             Bouillon

    Lesieur*            France               Mayonnaise and Dressings

    Royco               France, Belgium      Instant Dry Soup

    Heisse Tasse        Germany              Instant Dry Soup

    McDonnells          Ireland              Dry Soup and Sauces

    Bla Band            Sweden               Instant and Regular Dry Soup
                                              and Dry Sauces

    *Licensed to Campbell by Lesieur Alimentaire S.A.

Forward-Looking Statements

This release contains "forward-looking statements" which reflect the company's current expectations about its future performance. These forward- looking statements rely on a number of assumptions and estimates which could be inaccurate and which are subject to risks and uncertainties. Actual results could vary materially from those anticipated or expressed in any forward-looking statement made by the company. Please refer to the company's most recent Form 10-K and subsequent filings for a further discussion of these risks and uncertainties. The company disclaims any obligation or intent to update the forward-looking statements in order to reflect events or circumstances after the date of this release.

About Campbell Soup Company

Campbell Soup Company is a global manufacturer and marketer of premium quality soup, sauces, beverages, biscuits, confectionery, and prepared food products. The company owns a portfolio of more than 20 market-leading brands each with more than $100 million in sales. They include "Campbell's" soups worldwide, "Erasco" soups in Germany and "Liebig" soups in France, "Pepperidge Farm" cookies and crackers, "V8" and "V8 Splash" juices, "Pace" Mexican sauces, "Prego" pasta sauces, "Franco American" pastas, "Swanson" broths, "Homepride" sauces in the United Kingdom, "Arnott's" biscuits in Australia and "Godiva" chocolates around the world. The company also owns dry soup and sauce businesses in Europe under the "Batchelors," "Oxo," "Lesieur,"* "Royco," "Liebig," "Heisse Tasse," "Bla Band" and "McDonnells" brands. The company is ably supported by 24,000 employees worldwide. For more information on the company, visit Campbell's website on the Internet at www.campbellsoup.com.

  • Licensed to Campbell by Lesieur Alimentaire S.A.