MEXICO: Jugos dell Valle agrees sale to Kraft

The Mexican fruit juice group, Jugos dell Valle, has announced that it has reached a non-binding agreement to sell up to 100% in the company to the US food group, Kraft Foods Inc.

Jugos dell Valle, the second largest juice company in Mexico, said in a filing to the Mexican Stock Exchange that its controlling shareholders were still negotiating with the US group over price. The deal is still subject to a number of factors including a due diligence review by Kraft, regulatory approval and consent from both companies' boards.

No further announcement about the deal is expected for two months while Kraft carries out a complete overview of Jugos dell Valle. The two groups were first reported to be in talks in early-June. However, Jugos dell Valle has already been the subject of considerable takeover speculation. A well-publicised takeover bid from PepsiCo broke down in January after the two companies were unable to agree on price.

Del Valle has about 33% of the Mexican juice market, only slightly less than the market leader, Jumex. It had sales of Peso3.53 billion ($371.6m) in 2001. Around 16.7% of Del Valle's shares are traded on the open market with the balance controlled by Albarran family.