Processing Magazine

S.Korea''s Dongwon seeks to buy StarKist, shares up

June 23, 2008
According to Reuters, South Korean food group Dongwon is in talks to buy StarKist from Del Monte Foods Co, the companies said recently, sending both companies'' shares up at least three percent.

Maeil Business Newspaper reported earlier that Dongwon Group was expected to buy StarKist for around $300 million.

Dongwon F&B Co Ltd makes canned tuna and other food products.

Del Monte, whose brands include College Inn broths and Meow Mix pet food, said in May it was exploring alternatives for StarKist, including a possible sale. The unit, acquired by Del Monte in 2002, has weighed on Del Monte''s profits in recent quarters as the cost of skipjack tuna soared.

Maeil said without specifying sources that several Dongwon units, including Dongwon F&B and fishery unit Dongwon Industries Co Ltd will buy 100 percent of StarKist, including debt.

Dongwon F&B has about 75 percent of South Korea''s canned tuna market and plans to expand abroad, Maeil said.

Dongwon was the second-biggest player in the Asia Pacific canned food market in 2006, trailing Japan''s Hagoromo Foods Corp, but ahead of Del Monte, according to Research and Markets.