Noxell sells Caliente Chili and leaves food business

November 17, 1990|By Maria Mallory

Noxell Corp. is saying "adios" to the Mexican-food business.

Best known for its Noxzema, Clarion and Cover Girl brands, Hunt Valley-based Noxell -- by direction of its parent, Procter & Gamble Co. -- is shedding its Caliente Chili Inc. operation, which is based in Austin, Texas.

Noxell bought Caliente Chili for $5.1 million in 1983 to "serve as an important building block for developing new product opportunities," the company's annual report said that year.

But Wick Fowler's 2-Alarm, Family Style Chili Kits and other Caliente products remained Noxell's only food offerings.

Now, more than a year after Noxell was acquired by P&G, the parent company has decided that Caliente "does not fit strategically with itsfood business."

Neither Noxell nor Procter & Gamble would reveal Caliente's annual revenues or the sale price, but the brand's recognition is tiny compared with brands such as Jif peanut butter, Citrus Hill orange juice and Folgers coffee, other products marketed by Cincinnati-based P&G, said James J. Schwartz, public affairs manager at Noxell.

Most of Caliente's 24 employees will be offered severance packages and other benefits if they lose their jobs in the transaction, Mr. Schwartz said.

The purchaser, Wm. B. Reily & Co., also of Austin, will decide how many of those workers will be retained.

The sale will have no material effect on P&G's earnings, said a spokeswoman for the company. Noxell has more than 1,300 employees in Hunt Valley.

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