Unilever today (8 May) confirmed that it is considering a number options, including a sale and licensing agreement, for its Bertolli olive oil brand.
“We are looking at options for the olive oil part of the business, which is too commodity-driven to allow us to add value through innovation,” a spokesperson for the food and consumer goods giant told just-food.
“We are looking at the business to work out whether there is a better way of managing it. If the answer to this question is yes, there are several options open to us,” the spokesperson continued.
The Anglo-Dutch conglomerate did not rule out a sale, which would likely generate in the region of EUR600m (US$921.9m).
However, Unilever hopes to retain brand rights as it manufactures a number of other value added Bertolli products, such as pasta sauces.
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Bertolli is the world’s leading olive oil brand with products sold in over 50 countries.
Spain’s SOS Cuetara is rumoured to be interested in the brand, were Unilever to sell.
In 2006, the company purchased the Friol Italia oil brand from Unilever for EUR33.3m.
However, the Spanish oil-maker declined to comment on the prospect of buying Bertolli when contacted by just-food today.
If Unilever does push ahead with a sale it would be the latest in a string of disposals by the company, which is seeking to simplify its range of products as part of a wider restructuring drive.
Late last year, it sold cheese brand Boursin to France’s Fromageries Bel and seasonings business Lowry’s to US spice maker McCormick & Co.