Campbell exiting Australian snack food business

by Staff
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CAMDEN, N.J. — In an effort to improve operational efficiency and enhance long-term profitability, Campbell Soup Co. has announced it is closing a plant in Listowel, Ontario, exiting the snack food business in Australia, and discontinuing private label biscuit and industrial chocolate production at the Miranda, Australia, facility.

The company also is planning to streamline international management structure and eliminate certain overhead costs associated with businesses the company has divested. Campbell also is considering closing the Miranda facility.

"The actions announced today will continue to position Campbell as a high-performing focused food company," said Douglas R. Conant, president and chief executive officer. "Through a relentless focus on our core business of simple meals, baked snacks and healthy beverages and by eliminating inefficiencies in our portfolio and operations, we will be able to meet the needs of customers and consumers faster, better and more completely than the competition and create greater value for our shareowners."

The Canadian food plant produces mainly frozen products as well as ramen noodles. Campbell plans to keep the facility open for about 12 months and then transition production to various North American contract manufacturers and to the Downingtown, Pa., plant.

In Australia, Campbell has entered into an agreement to sell its snack foods business to a group of investors, including the senior management of The Real McCoy. The transaction includes the Cheezels, Thinks, Tasty Jacks, French Fries and Kettle Chips brands.

The company expects the initiatives will result in charges and costs of about $230 million to be incurred in the third and fourth quarters of 2008, and the savings from the actions will be modestly favorable on earnings and cash flow beginning in fiscal year 2009.

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