USA: Universal Foods Explores Strategic Alternatives for Its Yeast Division
Company Also Considers New Corporate Name Universal Foods Corporation (NYSE:UFC) said today that it has retained Salomon Smith Barney to assist in exploring strategic alternatives for the Red Star Yeast & Products division. The Division is a leading supplier to the commercial baking industry with revenues of approximately $140 million in fiscal 1999. The company has manufacturing operations in Baltimore, Milwaukee and Oakland. Red Star employs about 350 people. "The strategic direction of our company has changed as we have successfully expanded our Color and Flavor businesses into new markets," stated Kenneth P. Manning, Chairman, President and CEO. "This action is the next logical step toward focusing our business in those areas offering the highest rates of growth in revenue and profits. We also recognize that Red Star's prospects for worldwide leadership in yeast can be best maximized through a combination with another business where it will be part of a core global strategy." In addition, the company said that it plans to combine its Dehydrated Products division with its Flavor division. The Dehydrated Products division produces dehydrated onion, garlic and chili products primarily for use as flavors and flavor systems in processed foods. Universal Foods also announced that it has retained Corporate Branding Communications, LLC, New York, to develop a new corporate name and identity that will better reflect the direction of the company. "By the end of this year, we will truly be a new corporation," Manning stated. "We need to create a new corporate name that describes the key elements of our business and clearly defines our company to our employees, customers and shareholders." Headquartered in Milwaukee, Universal Foods Corporation employs approximately 4,200 people in 21 countries around the world. Total revenues for the fiscal year ended September 30, 1999 were $920 million.
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