Del Monte Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of Del Monte Foods, has announced the completion of the sale of its seafood business.

The sale, including StarKist, to South Korea's Dongwon Industries and its subsidiaries for around US$359m, includes an adjustment for the preliminary estimate of working capital, which will be updated once the final working capital is determined.

"The divestiture of StarKist improves Del Monte's margin structure, eliminates a source of earnings volatility and reduces debt leverage," said Rick Wolford, chairman and CEO of Del Monte Foods. "This sale also increases Del Monte's focus on faster-growing, value-added, higher-margin branded businesses, a key component of our accelerated growth plan."

The sale, announced on 29 June, included the sale of Del Monte's manufacturing capabilities in American Samoa and Manta, Ecuador; and certain manufacturing assets associated with StarKist seafood located in Terminal Island, California and Guayaquil, Ecuador.

"We are very pleased to have successfully closed this transaction and to welcome the StarKist family to our portfolio of products," said Ingu Park, vice chairman of Dongwon Enterprise. "Starkist represents a great opportunity for us to initiate operations in the US. We will continue to leverage the value this brings as we build upon its 37% market share and number one position in the shelf stable tuna category in the US."

Del Monte has also entered into a two-year operating services agreement with Dongwon where Del Monte will provide various operational services, such as warehousing, distribution, transportation, sales, IT and administration to the transferred business.