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Aurora Foods Adds Lender's Bagel Business To Growing Branded Frozen Food Empire.

Aurora Foods Inc., San Francisco, California, USA, already a producer and marketer of leading frozen food brands, has added Lender's Bagels to its stable, acquiring the business from cereal giant Kellogg's, Battle Creek, Michigan, for $275 million.

The acquisition included the Lender's trademark and manufacturing facilities located in Mattoon, Illinois, and West Seneca, New York, but excluded Lender's facilities in New Haven and West Haven, Connecticut. Lender's reported sales of approximately $210 million in calendar 1998. Aurora expects the acquisition to boost its earnings per share this year.

"Lender's number one market share position, strong brand equity and `orphan' status within the Kellogg's organization made it an ideal acquisition for Aurora," said lan R. Wilson, chairman and ceo of Aurora. "Lender's is well suited to Aurora's strategy of acquiring and revitalizing under-marketed brands."

Wilson said he expects to increase Lender's sales through the introduction of new products and packaging, increased strategic marketing support and dedicated management focus. He also expects to realize cost savings by consolidating production at Mattoon and West Seneca, and absorbing the sales, marketing and administrative functions in the frozen foods division of Aurora.

Founded in 1927, the Lender's brand is over 70 years old and is synonymous with bagels. Lender's is the leading brand of scannable bagels (bagels sold through the grocery store, excluding in-store bakery), with an overall 36% market share. In the frozen and refrigerated segments, Lender's shares are at 77% and 69%, respectively.

Aurora is one of the fastest growing producers and marketers of premium branded frozen and dry grocery products. Sales for 1998 were $947 million and earnings per share increased more than 40% from year-ago levels.

Tyson Exits Hog Production With Smithfield Foods Deal

Just a few years ago, Tyson Foods was aggressively expanding its empire beyond chicken. Now it's getting out of those other fields just as aggressively.

Not long after divesting its seafood operations, the Springdale, Arkansas, USA-based poultry processing giant has unloaded its hog production operations to Smithfield Foods, Smithfield, Virginia, for three million shares of stock worth approximately $80 million.

Tyson's Pork Group, Inc. had encompassed Tyson's hog production operations and boasted roughly 110,000 sows in the Midwest and small operations in North Carolina. The operations are capable of producing about 1.8 million market hogs annually.

"It gives us high quality hogs in areas where we don't have a lot of hogs now and gives us access to the Midwest," said Michael B. Miller, director of investor relations for Smithfield. "It's a good time for Tyson to sell because they are focused on chicken and we are focused on pork."

Shortly before the Tyson deal, Smithfield agreed to buy number two US pork producer Murphy Family Farms of Rose Hill, North Carolina, for $290 million The purchase involved about 10 million shares of Smithfield stock plus the company's assumption of about $170 million in Murphy Farms debt and other liabilities.

Processors Can Avoid Errors Through Freezing Workshop

Making mistakes with freezing technology can cost processors a bundle, and that's why the American Frozen Food Institute is sponsoring a workshop March 14-15 at the University of California's Davis campus.

The workshop covers basic principles of freezing and refrigeration systems; raw material handling and freezing techniques for vegetables, fruit, meat, fish and ice cream; blanching and enzymes; packaging and storage; microbial standards and sanitation; and environmental concerns and regulations.

Registration is $425. For further information, contact Diane M. Barrett by phoning 1-530-7524800.

Northwest Food Processors Have a Lot on Their Plate

Topics ranging from marketing natural and organic products to dealing with immigration agents will be on the agenda Jan. 24-26 at the Northwest Food Processors Association (NFPA) 2000 Convention and Exposition at Portland, Oregon.

Some 250 exhibitors are expected for the exposition, which will be open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. the first day, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. the second, and 8-11:30 a.m. the third. Lowell Catlett, a futurist from New Mexico State University, will be keynote speaker.

Workshop sessions will cover behavioral aspects of balancing safety, production and quality; listeria control and regulation, reducing the risk of Immigration and Naturalization Service enforcement, the future of food packaging, the Natural Organic Standards Act, and environmental issues.

For more information, called the NFPA at 1-503-639-7676, or fax 1-503-639-7007.
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Comment:Aurora Foods Adds Lender's Bagel Business To Growing Branded Frozen Food Empire.
Publication:Quick Frozen Foods International
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2000
Words:718
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