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Sara Lee Back in South Africa with Purchase of Kiwi Brands

CHICAGO -- Sara Lee Corp. has acquired the South African company Kiwi Brands Ltd. and its subsidiary companies. In 1986, the company divested itself of Kiwi brands, then called Nicholas Kiwi Ltd., in response to economic sanctions imposed against...

CHICAGO — Sara Lee Corp. has acquired the South African company Kiwi Brands Ltd. and its subsidiary companies. In 1986, the company divested itself of Kiwi brands, then called Nicholas Kiwi Ltd., in response to economic sanctions imposed against South Africa. Sara Lee declined to disclose the terms of the contract.

Kiwi Brands manufactures and markets shoe care products and other consumer products such as bath additives and skin care products. Kiwi also owns The South Africa Hosiery Co., Avroy Shlain Cosmetics, a direct marketer of skin care and other personal care products, and the South African rights to Playtex, a manufacturer of intimate apparel products.

According to a spokeswoman, annual sales of these businesses are approximately $130 million wholesale.

“We believe this is an appropriate time to reenter the South African market based on the positive developments taking place from a social, political and economic perspective,” said John Bryan, chairman and chief executive officer of Sara Lee.

Sara Lee, with annual wholesale volume of $14.6 billion in fiscal 1993, markets products under names such as Hanes, Hanes Her Way, L’eggs, Dim, Bali, Playtex and Champion.