Campbell Soup Co. said it signed a definitive agreement to sell Kelsen Group, the Denmark-based baked goods manufacturer best known for its iconic blue-tinned Royal Dansk cookies, to a Ferrero-affiliated company for $300 million.
Based in Nørre Snede, Denmark, Kelsen is part of Campbell International and employs approximately 400 people. The company is also known for its Kjeldsens butter cookies.
Kelsen generated approximately $157 million in sales in the last 12 months.
“The sale of Kelsen Group supports our strategy to focus on North America where we have iconic brands and strong market positions while reducing debt,” said Campbell Chief Executive Officer Mark Clouse in a statement. “Throughout the divestiture process, we have considered many options for our valuable international assets. Selling Kelsen separately from the rest of our international business generates the greatest possible value for Campbell. We are committed to the divestiture of the remainder of our international operations and will remain disciplined as we move forward.”
Clouse, a former CEO of Pinnacle Foods, has been working to improve the Camden-based company’s financial performance since replacing Denise Morrison as CEO last year. Campbell’s fortunes have waned as consumers eschew the prepared foods the company was built on in favor of more wholesome options. The company completed the sale of its Bolthouse Farms fresh foods business in June for $510 million.
Campbell’s shares were down 0.098 percent at $40.84 as of 11:59 a.m.
As part of the transaction, CTH Invest, the Ferrero-affiliated buyer, will take over the two production facilities in Ribe and Nørre Snede.
The sale price is subject to customary purchase price adjustments. Closing is expected in two months, according to a Ferrero news release.