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Taking aim at the world's largest market for spices, McCormick & Co. (Sparks, Maryland) has agreed to purchase a 26% share of spice and seasonings company Eastern Condiments Pvt. Ltd. (Kerala, India). The reported price is ~$35 million. Eastern, founded in 1989, had annual sales of $67 million for the year ended March 2010, with the average annual growth rate exceeding 25% for the past three years. In addition to the domestic market, Eastern's products are exported to 15 other countries. In 1994 McCormick established a 50% stake in India-based AVT McCormick Ingredients Pvt. Ltd.
Of the announcement, Eastern chairman M.E. Meeran said, "We are pleased to partner with McCormick and expect to benefit from their expertise in global sourcing, manufacturing, product innovation and brand marketing. Their global presence will accelerate our efforts to bring authentic products to Indian consumers in international locations as well as introduce other consumers to Indian cuisine."
Alan Wilson, chairman, president and CEO of McCormick, said, "This partnership is an important opportunity for McCormick to participate in the rapid growth of the India food market as consumers seek high-quality, more convenient packaged foods. The management of Eastern has built a strong brand image and utilizes an effective distribution system. They are rapidly expanding their geographic reach, as well as developing innovative and value-added new products."