Raisio Sells J&J; Unit Rights to Market Benecol

Bloomberg News

Raisio Oy of Finland, a food and extracts company, said it agreed to sell a unit of Johnson & Johnson the exclusive worldwide rights to market its cholesterol-cutting products. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. A joint venture producing raw sterol was set up in Chile and a stanol ester plant will be built in the U.S., Raisio said. The substances, which clinical studies suggest reduce artery-clogging cholesterol with regular use, are used in producing its Benecol margarine. "Now Raisio only needs to deliver the products. All channels are open," said Mika Heikkilae, fund manager at Arctos Funds, who may buy more of the stock. "Benecol will become a top brand. Johnson & Johnson is a big, talented marketer." Raisio discovered and patented a process to extract from pulp waste a plant, stanol, that is soluble in fat. The resulting substance can be used in margarine, yogurt, mayonnaise, peanut butter and other products to cut body cholesterol levels.

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