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McCain Foods, Heinz to Acquire Anchor Food Products

McCain Foods Limited will acquire the production facilities and food service business of Anchor Food Products Inc. in a three-party transaction. H.J. Heinz Company will purchase the company's branded products sold to retail outlets, including supermarkets and club stores.

The agreement to purchase was announced jointly today by McCain Foods Limited, the H.J. Heinz Company and Anchor Food Products Inc.

A leading manufacturer of frozen appetizers, Anchor had sales of US $503 million in 2000. The company produces specialty cheese appetizers, onion rings, stuffed jalapeno peppers, vegetable appetizers, and rolled and specialty appetizers.

The transactions, which are subject to regulatory review, are expected to close in the fall of this year. Specific terms of the agreement were not announced.

McCain Foods Limited, the world's largest manufacturer of French fries and an international producer of pizzas, appetizers and other frozen foods, will acquire Anchor's food service business, its main production facility and headquarters in Appleton, Wis., and its plants in Pecos, Tex., and Cuauhtemoc, Mexico.

"The Anchor acquisition will make McCain Foods a major food service supplier of frozen appetizers in the U.S. market," McCain Foods Chairman Harrison McCain said. "Anchor's innovative sales and marketing expertise is a perfect fit with the international production leadership of McCain Foods"

H.J. Heinz Company, whose Heinz Frozen Food Company manufactures and markets the popular Boston Market HomeStyle Meals brand of frozen entrees, will gain licensing rights to Anchor's T.G.I. Friday's brand and will acquire the Poppers brand of retail appetizer lines.

Anchor President and CEO Bill Raaths will lead the appetizer business of McCain, reporting to Gilles Lessard, Chairman and CEO of McCain Foods USA. "The three-party agreement is ideal," Raaths said. "McCain has a great track record internationally with world class manufacturing in the U.S., and Heinz has the resources to quickly expand the retail business. Both companies have worldwide reputations in the food business. We see this as a very positive step for both our customers and our employees."

Since 1991, Anchor's sales have grown more than tenfold, from $47 million 10 years ago to $503 million in 2000. The company, under the private ownership of the Follett family, has added chain, retail, deli, club store and international business to its core food service accounts during the past decade.
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