SOS Corporacion Alimentaria said it will be focusing its attention on the US and that it is looking at expansion opportunities in Australia and India, as well as other markets.

The firm announced yesterday (25 November) that it is selling its rice division to Spanish food group Ebro Foods for EUR195m (US$261m). The SOS board of directors said the cash will help the company reduce its debt, as well as concentrate on the development of its core business, olive oil.

And while the company said it will now look to improve its competitive position in the main markets of Spain, Italy, the US as well as the emerging markets of Brazil, China and Japan, SOS said it is also concentrating efforts on expansion in India and Australia.

“SOS will dedicate all efforts and resources to focus on enhancing its positioning in olive oil,” a spokesperson for SOS told just-food. “The company is growing in olive oil in its main markets Spain, Italy and US, and in new markets, Brazil, China, Japan… and this is due to the new commercial strategy implemented in the last months.”

The spokesperson added: “The US is one of the key markets for SOS, due to the potential in olive oil consumption. And in the new markets, SOS is expanding in India, China, Brazil, Japan and Australia, among others.”

Last month, SOS was reportedly in talks with Portugal’s Sovena. Reports suggested the Portuguese firm was considering whether to invest in the Spanish olive-oil maker, however the spokesperson for SOS declined to comment on the reports.

“We cannot make any comments on this. I can only confirm what it was already said: there were ongoing talks with Sovena, as well as with other groups. Sovena always stated that it wouldn’t take a stake of SOS through a share issue,” the spokesperson said.

For now, SOS said it’s main focus is on its core business of olive oil due to its “international potential”.

“The rice business has now been sold as a part of the agreement with new potential partner Ebro Foods,” the spokesperson said. “So now the business will focus on oil, where SOS is already world leader in bottled olive oil with 22% market share.”