Sara Lee Corporation announced today that it has signed an agreement to sell its Australia-based apparel operations to Pacific Dunlop for US$31.5 million. Sara Lee Apparel Australasia manufactures, distributes and markets commercial workwear, casual clothing, hosiery and intimate apparel in Australia and New Zealand. Sara Lee Apparel Australasia was included in an announcement Sara Lee made last month addressing its intent to divest eight non-core businesses.

Pacific Dunlop’s activities include clothing, sporting goods, latex products and tires. As part of the sale, Sara Lee has entered into licensing agreements with Pacific Dunlop for Sara Lee’s global brands Hanes, Playtex and Wonderbra. Pacific Dunlop will own the local Australian and New Zealand brands, which include Kayser, Razzamatazz, Formfit, King Gee and Stubbies.

“The divestiture of Sara Lee Apparel Australasia is consistent with the reshaping of our business portfolio announced last year,” said C. Steven McMillan, president and chief executive officer of Sara Lee Corporation. “Sara Lee Apparel Australasia generates nearly half of its annual sales from workwear and casual clothing, which we no longer consider core categories for our company.”

In May 2000, Sara Lee Corporation announced a major reshaping of its business portfolio to strengthen the company’s stature as a global leader in the branded consumer packaged goods sector. The company intends to narrow its business portfolio to focus on a smaller number of business segments – Food and Beverage, Intimates and Underwear, and Household Products. By doing so, Sara Lee will become a more competitive company with a focused vision and increased resources to apply toward the future growth of its remaining positions.

Sara Lee Apparel Australasia, which is headquartered in Kingsgrove, New South Wales, consists of four main product categories: Casual Clothing, Commercial Workwear, Hosiery and Intimate Apparel. The casual clothing brands, such as Stubbies, Ruggers, Tropicals and Hanes are sold primarily through mass merchandisers. Sales of commercial workwear, represented by the King Gee brand, are generated through direct distributors and contracts with major clients. The company’s hosiery brands such as Razzamatazz and Kayser are market leaders in all retail channels from grocery chains to department stores, while the intimate apparel brands, including Formfit and Playtex, have a significant presence in specialty and department stores.

Sara Lee Corporation ( is a global branded consumer packaged goods company with approximately $17.5 billion in annual revenues. Its leading brands include Sara Lee, Douwe Egberts, Hillshire Farm, Kiwi, Hanes and Playtex.