Hindustan Unilever, the Indian unit of Unilever, has struck a deal to sell its rice export business, which includes the brands Gold Seal Indus Valley and Rozana, to LT Foods Ltd.
LT Foods, which owns the Daawat rice brand, will pay INR250m (US$3.7m) for the rice business.
Gold Seal Indus Valley is present in 21 countries across regions including the Middle East and Europe. Indus Valley operates in the premium segment, while Rozana is a mid-priced Basmati rice. The brands registered turnover of INR510m in fiscal 2014-15.
Unilever said the decision to divest was “in line” with its strategy to exit non-core businesses while continuing to grow its “core packaged foods” interests.
Sanjiv Mehta, CEO and managing director of Hindustan Unilever, said: “Over the years, Gold Seal Indus Valley and Rozana have become household names in the rice category across the overseas markets in which they operate. The brands enjoy strong equity and have been delighting consumers through a range of high quality offerings in basmati rice. Given the context of our portfolio priorities, we believe that it is in the best interest of the business to sell these brands to a strategic player such as LT Foods, who is capable and well positioned to unlock their full potential.”
Last month, Indian newspaper The Economic Times claimed Hindustan Unilever was looking to sell a clutch of food brands in the country. The report said the company might offload atta, rice and salt brands as part of moves to focus on fewer food products.