Two Hawaii food
wholesalers to merge

A.H. Hansen plans to buy the isle operations
of Rykoff-Sexton Inc.

By Russ Lynch
Star-Bulletin



One of Hawaii's biggest and oldest wholesale food companies plans to acquire a competitor that is even bigger and nearly as old.

A.H. Hansen Sales has signed a letter of intent to buy the Hawaii operations of Rykoff-Sexton Inc., officials of both companies confirmed.

No sale price was given.

Michael Clifford, owner of A.H. Hansen, declined to comment except to say that the preliminary agreement was signed Aug. 16.

Bill Griffin, a spokesman for Rykoff-Sexton subsidiary U.S. Foodservice Inc. in Wilkes-Barre, Penn., confirmed that but declined to give further details of the deal.

Rykoff-Sexton, which started in the islands as S.E. Rykoff Inc. in 1960, has 70 employees in Hawaii, Griffin said. U.S. Foodservice has been managing the distribution business since Rykoff-Sexton acquired U.S. Foodservice in May and consolidated some businesses.

A.H. Hansen was founded in Hawaii in 1957, according to state business registration records. Details of its size and revenues were not available today.

When Clifford's privately held general merchandise wholesale company, Hawaiian Housewares, bought the Hansen business in late 1993, Hansen had some 80 employees and annual sales of about $40 million.

Several food industry sources said that the combination of Hansen and Rykoff-Sexton would create clearly the biggest food service wholesale business in Hawaii.

The two companies between them provide meats, fish, poultry, grocery lines, processed foods and food handling equipment to hotels, institutions, restaurants and retail stores.

Rykoff-Sexton, based in Lisle, Ill., is traded on the New York Stock Exchange and had $3.5 billion in sales last year, according to Bloomberg Business News. The company's stock closed at $15.06, up 6 cents, in today's trading on Wall Street.

The company has reported losses related to restructuring after the U.S. Foodservice acquisition.

Some parts of the business have been sold and the company closed some offices where Rykoff-Sexton's operations duplicated those of U.S. Foodservice.




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