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Hain Celestial buys up Walnut Acres owner

18-Jun-2003

Natural foods company the Hain Celestial Group has acquired privately-held Acirca, the owner of the Walnut Acres brand of organic fruit juices, soups and sauces. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

The Walnut Acres brands will be integrated into Hain's existing business units, just as with its Imagine acquisition, from the beginning of July, the start of Hain's fiscal 2004 year. The brands are expected to add approximately $20 million in sales to the group.

The Walnut Acres organic juices give Hain entry into the high growth juice category, adding to its other beverage formats, including refrigerated, aseptic and children's range. Walnut Acres also adds jarred soup products to Hain's Health Valley and Imagine Organic brands, giving the firm a full line of differently packaged soups.

Irwin D. Simon, chairman, president and chief executive officer, of Hain said: "We are excited to bring the well known Walnut Acres brand into our portfolio of natural and organic products." He added that Walnut Acres is America's original organic food brand and is considered a gold standard for quality. The Hain Celestial Group will "enhance its reputation".

"Walnut Acres will also create marketing and sales synergies for other Hain Celestial brands. For example, Walnut Acres pasta sauces, coupled with Our DeBoles pasta, will provide consumers with an all natural combination, and its outstanding salsas will be the perfect accompaniment to our Garden of Eatin' Tortilla Chips," added Simon.

Acirca, a financial and investment group, has been integrating a series of organic brands including Mountain Sun, ShariAnn's, Millina's Finest, and Fruitti di Bosco into its Walnut Acres flagship over the last two years. The firm has no manufacturing facilities.

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