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Mizkan completes purchase of Unilever’s U.S. pasta sauce business

Kyodo

Food manufacturer Mizkan Holdings Co. on Tuesday said it has completed its purchase of the U.S. pasta sauce brands of Anglo-Dutch consumer goods giant Unilever.

The $2.15 billion (about ¥218 billion) deal gives Mizkan the Ragu brand, which holds the top U.S. market share, as well as premium brand Bertolli.

Mizkan, based in Handa, Aichi Prefecture, said it will operate the brands under a new company called R & B Foods.

Mizkan President Kenji Hasegawa told a news conference in Nagoya his firm will get behind marketing the brands and developing new products.

Hasegawa added that the growing Hispanic population in North American markets is positive for pasta product sales.

Mizkan took out a $2.2 billion (about ¥220 billion) loan last Friday from four major banks — the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Mizuho Bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. and the governmental Development Bank of Japan, to complete the purchase.