Strengthening its position in the emerging markets of the Middle East, Bestfoods has entered Egypt by acquiring a majority interest in El Rashidi El Mizan Confectionery Factories S.A.E., a fast-growing maker of sesame-based products with annual sales of more than $30 million.
El Rashidi El Mizan brand sesame products, such as tahina paste and halawa sweets, are market leaders. The acquisition provides a portfolio of products that has been growing at double-digit rates over the past several years and also offers a platform for launching Bestfoods’ products into the region’s third largest economy. Bestfoods already has fast-growing operations in Israel and Turkey, the area’s two biggest economies, as well as Jordan and Saudi Arabia.
“Acquisitions and geographic expansion, along with development of our existing core businesses, are key elements of our growth strategy,” said C. R. Shoemate, Bestfoods chairman and chief executive officer. “Bestfoods’ current operations in nine countries of the Middle East and Africa generated sales of more than $450 million in 1999. Egypt, with a population of 61 million, has one of the strongest economies in the region and a promising future. By entering the market through this acquisition, Bestfoods hits the ground running. El Rashidi El Mizan’s strong local management team and extensive sales and distribution network allow us to drive continuing strong growth in the existing business and to quickly establish Bestfoods’ brands, beginning with Knorr and Mazola.”
Bestfoods acquired 51 percent of the company through an agreement signed April 12. It has an option to acquire an additional 35% ownership in 2002.
The acquisition is the 21st made by Bestfoods since 1995. Egypt represents the 65th country where Bestfoods has operations. Some 35% of Bestfoods’ sales come from emerging markets in Latin America, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.
To provide the clearest possible description of our business and outlook, this release contains forward-looking statements based on our best current information and reasonable assumptions about anticipated developments. Statements including such words as “expects,” “anticipates,” “intends,” “plans,” “believes,” “estimates” and other similar expressions are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. Because of the risks and uncertainties that always exist in any operating environment or business, we cannot make assurances that these expectations will prove correct. Actual results and developments may differ materially depending upon currency values, competitive pricing, consumption levels, costs and political and social conditions in the economies and environments where Bestfoods operates.
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ABOUT BESTFOODS: Bestfoods, formerly CPC International Inc., is among the largest U.S. food companies, with sales of $8.6 billion in 1999. Best known among Bestfoods’ U.S. products are: Hellmann’s and Best Foods mayonnaise and dressings; Mazola corn oil; Skippy peanut butter; Knorr soups, sauces, and bouillons; Entenmann’s sweet baked products; Thomas’ English muffins; Arnold, Brownberry, Freihofer’s, and Oroweat breads; Boboli pizza crusts; Mueller’s pasta; and Karo syrup. Bestfoods’ global Knorr brand comprises one of the world’s most extensive lines of products. Bestfoods is the most international food company based in the U.S., with operations in more than 60 countries and products marketed in 110 countries. For more information about Bestfoods, visit the company’s website on the Internet at: http://www.bestfoods.com.