General Mills To Buy Brazilian Food Maker Yoki

Minneapolis-based General Mills has an agreement to acquire Yoki Alimentos S.A., a privately held food company headquartered in São Bernardo do Campo, Brazil. The price is $857 million. Yoki reported 2011 sales of approximately $550 million.

Yoki is a family-owned Brazilian company established in 1960. Its Yoki and Kitano branded products hold leading market positions in several attractive and growing food categories, General Mills said, including snacks (popcorn and snack nuts), convenient meals (side dishes, dry soups), basic foods (grains and beans) and seasonings. It employs more than 5,000 people at “multiple manufacturing plants.”

“Yoki adds key capabilities and geographic scale that will accelerate our growth in Brazil,” said Chris O’Leary, General Mills’ executive vice president and chief operating officer for international. The acquisition will help “expand our current Haagen-Dazs and Nature Valley businesses in Brazil and introduce additional General Mills brands in this important market over time.”

As one of the biggest and fastest-growing economies in the world, Brazil is an attractive consumer market, according to the acquirer. A majority of its 200 million people now belong to the middle class and domestic consumption has become an important economic growth driver.

General Mills’ International operations have been growing rapidly in recent years. Fiscal 2012 international segment net sales are expected to exceed $4 billion, including sales from the Yoplait International yogurt business acquired July 1, 2011. The addition of Yoki will more than double General Mills’ annual sales in Latin America to nearly $1 billion.

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