Anglo-Dutch consumer goods giant Unilever announced today (9 February) its intention to sell the majority of its European frozen foods business, although it will retain its Italian frozen food business.

The decision follows a review that the company undertook in September to consider various future possibilities for the business. The review concluded that a strategy to grow the business would not deliver satisfactory value.

The company said that its frozen food businesses, including Birds Eye and Igloo brands, would “prosper better under other ownership and that divestment was the best option”. It also concluded that now was a good time to withdraw from the frozen food sector, as it would likely lead to future consolidation.

Unilever concluded that its frozen food brands could prosper better under different ownership. It also concluded that now was a good time to consider divestment as it would be likely to lead the expected future consolidation in the frozen food sector.

“After an exhaustive review we have decided that the best way for us to create value is by selling the majority of the European Frozen Food businesses,” explained group chief executive Patrick Cescau.

“We believe it is right to retain the Italian Frozen Food business because it is inherently an attractive business with good growth prospects. It has a good track record, has strong leadership positions and is strategically important in a number of ways. It is our biggest single business in Italy and its retention plays an important role in future trade relations in that country. It is also an important source of innovation and technology in the attractive frozen meals segment that is proving so successful in the US,” he added.

Unilever’s intention is to sell the business if the price is right, in whole or in part, as going concerns.