Reckitt agrees to sell food brands including Schwartz

Household goods giant Reckitt Benckiser has confirmed a £3.2bn deal to sell food brands including French's mustard and Frank's hot sauces to the maker of Schwartz spices.

Reckitt Benckiser laboratories in Hull.

US group McCormick fought off a number of rival bidders to secure the British firm’s food business in a move that will propel it to the number one position in America’s condiments market.

It comes a year after McCormick’s takeover battle to buy London-listed Mr Kipling’s cake firm Premier Foods failed.

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McCormick said Reckitt’s food arm was a “perfect match” for the group and pledged to keep the well-known brand names, which also include Cattlemen’s BBQ Sauce.

The deal will create a combined group with annual sales of around £3.8bn.

McCormick boss Lawrence Kurzius said: “The addition of Frank’s RedHot hot sauce, the clear consumer favourite in an attractive and high-growth category, French’s Mustard and the other beloved products enables McCormick to become a one-stop shop for condiment, spice and seasoning needs.”

Frank’s RedHot sauce is the number one brand in its market in the US and Canada, as is French’s Mustard.

Rakesh Kapoor, chief executive of Reckitt, said the sale is in line with its aims to refocus the group on its consumer health and cleaning products, which span a vast array of brands from Durex to Dettol.

He said: “This transaction marks another step towards transforming Reckitt Benckiser into a global leader in consumer health and hygiene, ensuring we continue to deliver for shareholders and give people innovative solutions for healthier lives and happier homes.”

Reckitt recently bought US baby formula maker Mead Johnson Nutrition in a mammoth £16.3bn deal to expand its consumer health arm.