McCormick to expand presence in India

by Eric Schroeder
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SPARKS, MD. — McCormick & Company, Inc. has agreed to acquire a minority share in Eastern Condiments Private Ltd., a spice and seasoning company based in Kerala, India.

Under terms of the agreement, McCormick said it will pay approximately $35 million for a 26% stake in Eastern Condiments. The partnership is expected to lead to continued double-digit sales growth and further profitability for the Eastern Condiments brand.

“This partnership is an important opportunity for McCormick to participate in the rapid growth of the India food market as consumers seek high-quality, more convenient packaged foods,” said Alan D. Wilson, chairman, president and chief executive officer of McCormick. “The management of Eastern has built a strong brand image and utilizes an effective distribution system. They are rapidly expanding their geographic reach, as well as developing innovative and value-added new products.”

M.E. Meeran, chairman of Eastern Condiments, added, “We are pleased to partner with McCormick and expect to benefit from their expertise in global sourcing, manufacturing, product innovation and brand marketing. Their global presence will accelerate our efforts to bring authentic products to Indian consumers in international locations as well as introduce other consumers to Indian cuisine.”

Founded in 1989, Eastern Condiments has operated profitably in each of the past 10 years and has annual sales of approximately $67 million. The company’s brand share of the packaged spice category is approximately 50% in the southern state of Kerala where products are delivered by direct distribution. The company’s products also are exported to 15 other countries.

The partnership with Eastern Condiments will be McCormick’s second in India. The company has had a 50% interest in India-based AVT McCormick Ingredients Private Ltd. since 1994.
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