US packaged food maker General Mills is to close its Brazilian pasta and bread businesses with the loss of 500 jobs.

The company said on Friday (17 April) that the closure of the manufacturing facility in Contagem will involve the discontinuation of its Forno de Minas and Frescarini brands, which it acquired with the acquisition of the Pillsbury Company in 2001.

As a result, the company will incur a pretax charge of US$20m in the fourth quarter, which includes $13m to write down the assets and $6m in severance, according to the filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

General Mills said it wants to concentrate on its "other faster growing businesses" in Brazil.

"This will allow us to increase investment in our focus areas, including expansion of our fast growing Häagen-Dazs super-premium ice cream and Nature Valley granola bar businesses in Brazil," said Pablo Pla, managing director of General Mills Brazil.

Forno de Minas and Frescarini are "category-leading" brands, and both could be "attractive" for other companies with synergies in the dough business, the company said.

General Mills said it is offering "comprehensive pay, benefits and other services" for all affected employees.