HJ Heinz Company has said that the UK Competition Commission has given the final clearance to its purchase of HP Foods Group with no modifications.

The completion of the Commission’s review enables Heinz to begin integrating leading brands, such as HP sources and Lee & Perrins, into the company’s operations. These join Heinz’s portfolio of the ten category-leading consumer brands that now account for 60% of the firm’s global sales, the company said.
“With the addition of the iconic HP and Lea & Perrins brands, along with Amoy in Europe, Heinz greatly strengthens its global leadership in the Ketchup and Sauces category,” said William Johnson, Heinz chairman, president and CEO. “Heinz’s vision is to deliver top-tier shareholder returns by focusing on substantial growth in three food categories – ketchup & sauces, meals & snacks and infant nutrition in six large global markets and four fast-growing emerging markets.”

The company described the acquisition as an “important milestone” in its strategic growth plan and the transformation of its portfolio as Heinz hones its focus on its three core categories. The company said that globally it will achieve nearly US$1bn in proceeds from disposals, such as its European seafood business, by the end of the first quarter of FY2007.

Heinz said that it would now turn its attention to developing the brands through the creation of new flavours and packaging innovations.