Feb 13 (Reuters) - General Mills Inc agreed to buy Brazilian food company Yoki for 2 billion reais ($1.16 billion), in a move marking its return to Latin America's largest consumer market, a local newspaper reported on Monday.
The U.S. company may be seeking to set up production facilities in Brazil after losing its Frescarini pasta factory to a fire in 2007 and selling snack maker Forno de Minas in 2009, O Estado de S. Paulo newspaper said, citing unnamed sources close to the companies.
Since then General Mills has only sold imported products in Brazil, including cereal bars and Häagen-Dazs ice cream, according to Estado. Yoki has nine factories in six Brazilian states producing packaged snacks, juices and microwave popcorn.
The deal comes as food companies are seeking to grab a bigger share of a growing Brazilian market, which has benefited from the emergence of more than 30 million people from poverty over the past decade.
Yoki and General Mills, based in Minneapolis, declined to comment on the report.