HJ Heinz Company will draw its 2006 financial year to a close with the sale of two additional non-core businesses to The Hain Celestial Group and its stake in a Philippines-based partnership to Nutri Asia.

The company has now completed the sale of its UK chilled prepared foods business and progressed in negotiations for the sale of its frozen meat-free business to The Hain Celestial Group.

In the Philippines, Heinz has sold its 50% ownership in Heinz-UFC Philippines to Nutri Asia, also for an undisclosed fee. The Heinz brand, together with Lea & Perrins and HP will continue to be sold in the country through various distribution arrangements.

The chilled prepared foods business sale includes one manufacturing site located in Luton, England for an undisclosed fee.

Heinz has entered advanced and exclusive negotiations with Hain Celestial Group for the proposed sale of its UK frozen meat-free business, including the Linda McCartney brand.

The proposed sale would include a manufacturing facility in Fakenham, England and Heinz intends to consult with employees before the transaction is completed. It is expected that the potential sale will be completed in early June.

The Hain Celestial Group president and CEO Irwin Simon said: “We are excited with the prospect of adding the Linda McCartney line of vegetarian products to our natural and organic portfolio of brands, and we look forward to the potential of working with Sir Paul McCartney and his family in developing a wide array of Linda McCartney vegetarian products throughout Europe and North America.”

Heinz sold its stake in Hain Celestial in December 2005 in-line with its strategy to divest non-core businesses and focus on ketchups and sauces, meals and snacks and infant nutrition.

Representatives of Sir Paul McCartney added: “The McCartney family looks forward to working with Hain Celestial to expand the Linda McCartney brand in Europe and North America.”

Heinz aims to collect total proceeds of approximately US$1bn from global divestitures, including the recent sales of its seafood businesses in Europe and Israel, HAK vegetables in the Netherlands, HP Ethnic Foods in the UK and Tegel Foods in New Zealand.

Heinz chairman, president and CEO William Johnson said: “Our European business is now a leaner and more focused portfolio and we will be growing the retained core businesses with product and packaging innovation.”