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Heinz Negotiates To Buy CSM Foods

December 21, 2000

PITTSBURGH (AP) _ H.J. Heinz Co. announced Wednesday that it has begun talks to acquire a major European food company that sells soups, packaged vegetables, sports drinks, and fortified juices.

Heinz is negotiating to buy the CSM Food Division of CSM Nederland NV of Diemen, near Amsterdam. The talks are going well enough that Heinz expects to complete the merger early in 2001, Heinz said in its announcement.

Any agreement would have to be approved by European Union regulators.

CSM Food Division is a major food company in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. It holds the No. 1 or No. 2 brands in each of its markets.

CSM’s products include the $100 million Honig brand of soups, sauces and pastas; Hak brand of vegetables packed in glass; and KDR (Koninklijke De Ruijter) brand sports drinks and fortified juices. Also, the company markets KDR spreads and sprinkles, which are very popular as traditional toppings for breakfast breads and toasts.

CSM products are sold not only to consumers but also to foodservice customers. The acquisition will double Heinz’s foodservice sales in the Benelux region.

Heinz currently operates its primary European condiments factory in Elst, the Netherlands. It has been a leading food manufacturer in that country since 1958, when it acquired a local food processor.

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