CSM To Sell Bakery Operations

Dutch company CSM NV plans to sell its main operations, the bakery ingredients division, which makes processed flour and products.

AMSTERDAM (AP) -- Dutch company CSM NV plans to sell its main operations, the bakery ingredients division, which makes processed flour and products such as bagels, English muffins, pizzas, tortillas, and sweet glazes.

The company said Monday it does not have a buyer. But investors liked the idea: shares soared 23 percent to €13.37 in early Amsterdam trading.

The division, which competes against General Mills Inc., among others, had sales of €2.4 billion ($3.1 billion) in 2011. Operating profit before depreciation and amortization of goodwill was €127.5 million.

CSM is keeping its smaller lactic acid division, which has grown by 8 percent annually for a decade, as well as its business making food processing enzymes and emulsifiers, where it has a stronger market position.

CSM said an internal review concluded all the business lines have fair prospects, but CSM should only fund the strongest.

The company's stock closed 4.1 percent higher on Friday amid a generally negative market, suggesting rumors of the strategic shift had already started to leak.

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