GM Looks to Australia

December 14/Minneapolis/just-food global news -- General Mills has signed a contract to buy Pasta Master, a producer of chilled Italian meals, pasta and sauces based in Australia.

The sale, which is expected to complete in March, includes the Victoria-based business and a production facility in Bendigo. Around 75 people at the facility are expected to become part of General Mills.

Terms of the sale were not disclosed.

"The acquisition of Pasta Master strategically broadens our ready-to-cook pasta offerings to consumers," said Markus Muehleisen, managing director of General Mills Australia. "Its long history of innovation and quality in Italian meals fit well with our Latina portfolio, which is Australia's number-one brand of fresh pasta and sauces."

Last month, General Mills announced it was offloading assets in Australia, with the sale of its Croissant King and van den Bergh's frozen bakery business to Ireland's Kerry Group.

From the December 20, 2010, Prepared Foods E-dition