The J. M. Smucker Co. has agreed to buy the Wesson oil brand from Conagra Brands Inc. for cash in a transaction valued at about $285 million.
Smucker, the Orrville-based maker of Folgers coffee, jams and jellies, Crisco oil and other products including pet food, said Tuesday it will fund the purchase primarily with debt. The deal is subject to regulatory approval.
Conagra, headquartered in Chicago, will continue to make Wesson brand products for up to one year following the close of the transaction, Smucker said in a news release.
After that, Smucker expects to consolidate Wesson production into Smucker’s food oils manufacturing facility in Cincinnati.
Annual “cost synergies” of approximately $20 million are expected to be realized within two years after the purchase closing, Smucker said.
Shares of Smucker were down 44 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $127.73 as of 11:34 a.m.
CEO Mark Smucker said in the news release that the addition of Wesson “creates a strong complement to our Crisco brand.”
J.M. Smucker Co. acquired Crisco, along with the Jif peanut butter brand, from Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble in 2003.
Mark Smucker said in the news release that the purchase of Wesson will lead to “significant cost savings” through more efficient use of existing supply chain and “go-to-market resources.” The cost-savings, he said, “can further fuel growth and innovation opportunities across the company.”
The purchase is expected to add 10 cents to Smucker’s adjusted earnings per share in the first full year after closing, the company said.
Conagra last year sold off its private brands business and now is focusing on higher-margin products.
Smucker will release its fourth-quarter earnings June 8. Smucker employs about 1,200 people in Orrville, where in addition to its corporate offices it has its Heritage fruit spread plant, where it makes jams, jellies and preserves.
In February, the company said a decline in sales of its Folgers coffee and pet food snacks contributed to lower revenues for the third quarter.
At the time, CEO Mark Smucker said in a statement that the company was “aggressively pursuing a variety of growth opportunities.”
Net sales in the third quarter declined 5 percent to $1.88 billion from a year ago, missing analysts’ expectations.
Smucker’s profits for the third quarter fell to $134.6 million, or $1.16 a share, versus $185.3 million, or $1.55 a share, a year ago. Adjusted earnings per share were $2, compared to $2.05 in the prior year.