Hain Celestial has bought the MaraNatha and SunSpire brands and their nut butter manufacturing facility in Ashland, Oregon, the US-based firm has said.

The terms of the deal, which closed yesterday (6 March), have not been disclosed.

MaraNatha is a producer of natural and organic nut butters, while SunSpire produces natural and organic chocolate products. Both are leading brands in their respective categories, Hain Celestial said, with natural food retailers accounting for the majority of sales

The two brands generated combined sales of around US$40m in the US and Canada in the last year, the company said.

"Adding the category leader MaraNatha to our natural and organic portfolio of brands strengthens Hain Celestial's position in the growing nut butter category and expands our variety of offerings with almond, cashew, macadamia and other blended nut butters," said Hain Celestial president and CEO Irwin Simon.

Simon added that SunSpire also provided an entry into the natural candy category, including confectionery ingredients, where Hain Celestial does not have a presence.

"Each of these categories is poised for expansion in the natural and grocery channels," Simon said.

Hain Celestial said it expected the transaction to be accretive to its earnings during its 2009 fiscal year.