Global food company Unilever has completed the sale of its spreads business to private investment firm KKR for a sum of €6.825bn on a cash-free, debt-free basis.

Unilever previously received a binding offer from KKR to purchase its global Spreads business in December last year.

At that time, Unilever CEO Paul Polman said: “In April of this year we set out our 2020 programme to accelerate sustainable value creation.

“After a long history in Unilever, we decided that the future of the spreads business would lie outside the group.

"I am confident that, under KKR’s ownership, the spreads business with its iconic brands will be able to fulfil its full potential, as well as societal responsibilities."

“The announcement today marks a further step in reshaping and sharpening our portfolio for long-term growth.

“The consideration recognises the market-leading brands and the improved momentum we have achieved.

“I am confident that, under KKR’s ownership, the spreads business with its iconic brands will be able to fulfil its full potential, as well as societal responsibilities.”

KKR noted that the acquisition has been completed through its European and North American private equity funds.

Unilever’s spreads business comprises a number of brands such as Becel, Flora, Country Crock, Blue Band, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, Rama and ProActiv.

The business operates across 66 countries worldwide and reported a turnover of €3.03bn, EBITDA of €680m prior to any carveout adjustments under new ownership, and assets of €1.10bn during 2016.

The latest acquisition excludes Unilever’s spreads business in South Africa.

Unilever has completed the sale of its spreads business in Southern Africa to Remgro as part of a separate development, along with the related acquisition of Remgro’s 25.75% interest in Unilever South Africa.