Symington’s to license Unilever sauce portfolio in Australia and New Zealand

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Convenience food manufacturer, Symington’s, is licensing Unilever’s wet sauces product portfolio in Australia and New Zealand.

The deal represents Symington’s first major international venture and allows the company to build on its UK track record of success in reintroducing retail customers and consumers to these well-loved brands.

Symington’s will take on three brands from Unilever; Chicken Tonight, Raguletto and Five Brothers. Under the terms of the deal, the three brands will continue to be produced at Unilever’s factory in Victoria, Australia.

Symington’s claims to have successfully built the Chicken Tonight and Ragu brands in the UK following the transfer from Unilever in August 2011. A series of new product launches as well as branding and marketing initiatives has boosted sales bringing consumers back to these brands as well as attracting new ones. Under the stewardship of Symington’s these brands have grown on average 15% year-on-year and helped rejuvenate the ambient sauces category, which is now worth approximately £540m in the UK.

Symington’s successful performance has most recently been recognised by the British Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (BVCA). It recently named David Salkeld, CEO of the Year for the North East. The company was also the regional winner of the Large Buyout Management Team of the Year which recognises a management team’s outstanding contribution to the growth of the company over the course of the past year, demonstrating strategic vision and overall development of the business.

For the Australian venture, Symington’s will be setting up a subsidiary office in Melbourne to oversee the Australian wet sauces portfolio. At the same time, the Melbourne-based team will grow Symington’s convenience foods business, both branded and private label in Australia.

David Salkeld, Chief Executive of Symington’s Ltd, said: “This venture will allow Symington’s to do what it does best – invest in new products and brands and reintroduce them to consumers who can then enjoy them afresh. We have a great relationship with Unilever and are delighted to have the opportunity to do what we did for Chicken Tonight and Ragu in the UK with our retail customers and consumers ‘down under’.”