Regular readers know that we’ve covered the rumors that the Anglo-Dutch company Unilever may sell off its low-margin food business to concentrate on personal care.
Talks with banks about dumping the dressings, oils & spreads division (the weakest) have been reported.
Unilever has already sold its European frozen foods division to Bird’s Eye Iglo and its Brazilian tomato business to Cargill, while acquisitions over the past two years have both been in the personal care area (Alberto Culver and Sara Lee’s HBA division).
Big brands like Hellmann’s Mayonnaise and Knorr generate large cash returns, but growth dropped 1% worldwide in the food unit, while personal car grew 6.2%. With volumes across all its European business units down 2.9%, the company is likely to follow the lead of others like Kraft and Kellogg’s and focus on emerging markets.
Speculation that either Bunge Limited or Cargill with their edible oils divisions would be likely suitors.
 Source: The Financial Times.