NEW YORK — IFF has agreed to sell its savory solutions group to PAI Partners, a global private equity firm active in the food and consumer industry. The transaction values the business at about $900 million. New York-based IFF plans to use the cash proceeds net of taxes and expenses primarily to pay down outstanding debt.

“The sale of IFF’s savory solutions group is an important milestone as it allows us to focus on our highest-return businesses, improve our capital structure and enhance our go-forward growth-and-return profile,” said Frank Clyburn, chief executive officer for IFF.

The savory solutions group offers ingredients primarily for foods and foodservice. They include products for butchers and plant-based systems for the vegan and vegetarian markets. The group served over 11,000 customers in Europe, North America and Asia over the past year and generated about $475 million in revenue. The transaction values the business at about 14 times the past 12-month EBITDA.

IFF and PAI Partners expect the transaction, subject to customer closing conditions, to close in the second quarter of 2023. Paris-based PAI plans to expand the business in Europe and North America both organically and through acquisitions, notably in the plant-based and clean label segments.

J.P. Morgan Securities LLC and Lazard were financial advisers to IFF. Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP provided legal support.

Other PAI Partners transactions included acquiring a majority stake in Tropicana, Naked and other juice businesses from PepsiCo, Inc. in 2021 and forming a joint venture, Froneri, with Nestle SA in 2016. Froneri in 2019 agreed to acquire the Nestle SA US ice cream business.