Posted on June 14, 2006

Hain Celestial buys Linda McCartney vegetarian business

Frozen meat-free business to grow firm's organic and natural lines

Organic and natural food company The Hain Celestial Group, Inc. Tuesday said it completed the asset purchase of the Linda McCartney brand frozen meat-free business from H. J. Heinz Company.

"We now have the premier meat-free brand which will further support our expansion of natural and organic products,” Irwin D. Simon, president and chief executive officer of the Hain Celestial Group, said in a press release.

Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed, but Hain Celestial said it will license the Linda McCartney brand under an agreement with Linda Enterprises Limited.

The Linda McCartney brand, named for ex-Beatle Paul McCartney’s late wife Linda, and its vegetarian product line includes sausages, ready meals, and pastry products.

In a statement released by The McCartney Family said in a released statement: “We are delighted to be joining together with Hain Celestial, a leading light in organic, natural products, to produce an even better range of foods than we have ever made before.”

Also included in the acquisition is a manufacturing facility based in Fakenham, England.
Hain Celestial said it expects the transaction to add to fiscal year 2007 earnings.

In fiscal year 2005, the company reported net sales of $620 million (€493.2 million) derived mainly from “internal growth and acquisitions driven by core growth brands—Terra Chips, Garden of Eatin’, Earth’s Best, and Celestial Seasonings.

Publicly traded Hain Celestial is headquartered in Melville, N.Y. and sells natural and organic food and personal care products into established North American and European markets under several brand names, including: Celestial Seasonings, Earth’s Best, Hain Pure Foods, FreeBird, Terra Chips, Garden of Eatin’, Health Valley, WestSoy, Earth’s Best, Arrowhead Mills, Walnut Acres Organic, Imagine Foods, Rice Dream, and Soy Dream.

The company said last month it purchased the Fresh Prepared Foods Business in Luton, England from Heinz.

"The Luton-based fresh prepared foods operation will provide us with a strong foothold and a full infrastructure in the United Kingdom , from which we can grow operations and product distribution," Simon said at the time. "As we expand our European business with fresh prepared foods and natural and organic products including non-dairy beverages, tea, grocery and snacks products, we look to streamline this business to focus on our core strategy and to divest those businesses that do not complement our growth plan."

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