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Grupo Bimbo Buys Five U.S. Bakeries

January 22, 2002

MEXICO CITY (AP) _ Mexico’s Grupo Bimbo, the world’s third-largest bread maker, announced Tuesday it had bought five U.S. bakeries in a deal that was expected to double the company’s U.S. market revenues.

The dlrs 610 million agreement includes plants in Dallas; Denver; Beaverton, Oregon; San Francisco; and Montebello, California.

In addition, Bimbo won the rights to make and distribute Orowheat bread, Entenmann’s pastries, Thomas’ English Muffins and Boboli pizza kits in the western United States. Bimbo said the agreement with Canada’s George Weston Ltd. also grants the Mexican company the rights to about 1,300 direct distribution routes.

No layoffs were planned, said Guillermo Quiroz, Bimbo’s chief financial officer.

George Weston’s operations in the western United States, which employee 3,900 people, registered sales of dlrs 620 million in 2001 and posted earnings of dlrs 56 million.

Bimbo has focused on acquiring bakeries in U.S. states with large and growing Hispanic populations, purchasing in recent years Mrs. Baird’s Bakeries in Texas and Four-S Bakeries in California.

With its latest U.S. acquisition, 30 percent of the company’s sales, which totaled dlrs 3.3 billion in 2000, are expected to come from the United States.

``This acquisition fits perfectly with our vision of creating a pre-eminent baking business in the United States,″ said Daniel Servitje, Bimbo’s chief executive officer.

The transaction is expected to close during the first half of 2002 following antitrust approval.

Bimbo has more than 70 plants and distributors in 16 countries throughout the Americas and Europe.

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