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Huhtamaki sells Italian food-service business

By: Michael Lauzon

October 30, 2013

Huhtamaki Oyj has sold a non-core, commodity food-service business in Italy.

The Finnish firm said Oct. 30 that its Huhtamaki Spa subsidiary was bought by Diesse srl of Sicily for 5 million euros. The Italian unit primarily makes polystyrene products such as cutlery, cups, plates and bowls in Settimo Torinese, Sant-Ilario d’Enza and Buccino and had sales of about 50 million euros last year. Diesse makes PS packaging for the foodservice market.

Huhtamaki spokeswoman Katarina Hietaranta said in a phone interview that the Italian food-service business with the brand name Bibo was a small part of its European food-service business.

Huhtamaki, based in Espoo, Finland, estimates the divestment will boost earnings before interest and taxes by 3 million to 4 million euros a year for its Europe-Asia-Oceana food-service segment beginning in 2014. The company will take a charge of Euros17 million on the sale in the fourth quarter of 2013.

Huhtamaki CEO Jukka Moisio said the company will “continue to serve the professional foodservice market in Italy from our other European units.”

“This will allow us to expand our manufacturing operations and strengthen our market presence in Italy,” noted Diesse director Faro Di Santo in a news release.

Hietaranta said the sale in Italy was isolated and not the start of a plan to get out of food-service markets.

In North America, Huhtamaki Inc. thermoforms and injection molds Chinet premium plastic foodservice items in Coleman, Mich., and New Vienna, Ohio, said spokesman Wess Hudelson in an interview from Huhtamaki Inc.’s head office in De Soto, Kan.

In total, Huhtamaki runs 15 plants in the United States and Mexico, most of which make paperboard foodservice products and packaging. The company is completing a conversion of a former Ford Motor Co. factory in Batavia, Ohio, to make paperboard foodservice products.