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Heinz Expands in the Southern Hemisphere With Addition of Sauce and Vegetable Business in South Africa and Pet Food Unit in New Zealand

PITTSBURGH, Oct. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- H.J. Heinz Company (NYSE: HNZ) announced today that it is expanding its operations in the Southern Hemisphere with the addition of a sauce, condiments and dehydrated vegetable business in South Africa and a pet food unit in New Zealand.

"Both of these new ventures permit us to expand two of our six core categories in fast-growing overseas markets. What's more, they represent additional steps in Project Millennia, our worldwide reorganization and growth initiative," noted Heinz Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Anthony J.F. O'Reilly.

Wellington's in South Africa

Heinz South Africa (Pty) Ltd. has entered into an agreement to acquire a majority interest in Wellington's, the sauce, condiments and dehydrated vegetable division of South Africa Dried Fruit Co-operative Ltd. of Wellington, near Cape Town.

The new company, to be known as Heinz Wellington's (Pty) Ltd., will continue to market the Wellington's range of chutneys and sauces and the Evergreen brand of dehydrated vegetables. The company is expected to record sales of US$15 million this year.

"With South Africa's sauces and canned goods business growing at about 11 percent annually, our plan calls for Wellington's to begin manufacturing and marketing a complete line of Heinz ketchup, sauces and other canned products," Dr. O'Reilly said.

Wellington's products are manufactured at factories in Barvale, Benoni and Wellington, South Africa. The company employs approximately 450 people.

Heinz now has total sales in Southern Africa approaching US$200 million. "The Southern Africa region has a population of approximately 100 million and because of Heinz's excellent trading record in this fast-growing part of Africa, we expect to expand our business at annual rates of about 20 percent," Dr. O'Reilly emphasized.

In 1995, Heinz formed Heinz South Africa and Heinz Frozen Foods. The latter operates in the South African foodservice business and offers frozen potato products to restaurants and other away-from-home eating establishments. Last year, the company reopened its Weight Watchers business and in July established Pets Products (Pty) Limited, a joint venture in the pet food and pet treats market.

This transaction is pending final approval of members of South Africa Dried Fruit Co-operative.

Bruno Pet Food in New Zealand

In New Zealand, Heinz-Wattie Ltd. purchased the brands and selected assets of Bruno Pet Foods Ltd., a leading processor of chilled dog food, a popular form of pet food in that country. Bruno Pet Foods has been owned by Ray and Helen Arnesen of South Canterbury.

The acquisition of the Bruno and Winna brands complements Heinz-Wattie's already strong pet food line, which includes Champ chilled dog food along with leading brands of canned and dry pet foods.

Bruno chilled dog foods are made at plants in Timaru and Wanganui, which together employ about 40 people.

Heinz acquired Wattie's, New Zealand's best-known food processor, in 1992. It was the company's largest-ever overseas acquisition. Today, the company offers an array of items including ketchup and condiments, baby food, soups, frozen and dried vegetables, processed poultry, and pet food. Wattie's has significant exports to neighboring markets of Asia/Pacific.

Heinz did not release the terms of either transaction.

SOURCE H.J. Heinz Company
 -0- 10/06/97

/CONTACT: D. Edward I. Smyth, VP - Corp. Affairs, 412-456-5780, or Debora S. Foster, Gen. Mgr. - Corp. Communications, 412-456-5778, both of Heinz; or John E. Kennedy, or 412-456-3586, or L. Michael Kelly, Jr., 412-456-3840, both of Ketchum Public Relations, for Heinz/

/Company News On-Call: or fax, 800-758-5804, ext. 402575/


CO: H.J. Heinz Company; Heinz South Africa (Pty) Ltd.; Wellington's; Heinz

Wellington's (Pty) Ltd.; Heinz-Wattie Ltd.; Bruno Pet Foods Ltd. ST: Pennsylvania IN: FOD SU: TNM

JS -- PHM014 -- 9410 10/06/97 08:19 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 6, 1997
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