Pulmuone said deal included three tofu brands

Pulmuone said deal included three tofu brands

Pulmuone Co., the South Korea-based food group, has said its acquisition of the bulk of Vitasoy International's business in the US will give it a presence across the country.

The US$50m deal gives Pulmuone "substantially all" of Vitasoy's business in the US, the company said, including the Nasoya, Azumaya and San Sui brands.

In a statement issued on Thursday (24 March), H.Y. Lee, CEO of Pulmuone Foods Co., said: "Pulmuone now has a strong national platform and presence that will not only drive manufacturing and logistics synergies, but will also enable us to leverage a comprehensive sales and distribution infrastructure to further drive availability of our brands and products within the USA."

Pulmuone said the assets would strengthen its "leadership position" within the tofu market. Lee said the company had ambitions beyond tofu.

"This expanded business scale within the USA market will also be the beachhead to drive development and growth of Pulmuone beyond the tofu category," Lee said.

The transaction was first announced earlier on Thursday by Vitasoy. The Hong Kong-listed company said it would continue to operate its Asian business unit in the market, which is focused on importing beverage products from Hong Kong to North America.

Vitasoy said the sale would enable it to focus on core business areas. "The board is of the view that the disposal will enable the group to focus and accelerate its growth of core businesses in Hong Kong and mainland China as well as to support its further expansion into other new markets," the company said in a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange.

In order to complete the transaction, Pulmuone formed a subsidiary called Coast Acquisition Co. South Korea's National Pension Service, which jointly funded the deal, will own a 50% stake in the enterprise. 

Vitasoy said the book value of the assets included in the sale totalled US$24.4m. The businesses made a post-tax loss of US$61.9m in the 12 months to 31 March 2015. 

Last autumn, Pulmuone lodged interest in buying Quorn Foods, the UK-based meat-free business eventually sold to Philippines group Monde Nissin.