H.J. Heinz Company has announced that its HP Foods subsidiary has signed a definitive agreement with Associated British Foods plc (ABF) for the sale of HP Foods' Ethnic Foods business.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed. The Ethnic Foods division represents a small part of the HP business which Heinz acquired in August. Heinz's intention when it acquired HP Foods was to focus on three sauce brands: Lea & Perrins, HP sauces and a perpetual licence to market the rapidly growing Amoy Asian sauces brands in Europe.

"Selling the HP Ethnic Foods business, which is sold primarily through the ethnic distribution channel, is in line with our strategy of focusing on three core categories where Heinz is a sector leader: ketchup, condiments & sauces; meals & snacks; and infant nutrition," said Joe Jimenez, president and CEO, Heinz Europe.

The HP Foods Ethnic Food business markets a wide range of owned and agency brands to the Chinese, Indian and Thai restaurant sector, as well as specialist retailers. These include the Rajah, Green Dragon, Lotus, Maharajah, Cathay and Dynasty brands. Some 30 employees will be transferred from HP to ABF as a result of the deal which is expected to be completed within the next two months.