Reports has claimed Middle Eastern interest in Iceland Foods

Reports has claimed Middle Eastern interest in Iceland Foods

Icelandic bank Landsbanki, one of the major shareholders in UK retailer Iceland Foods, has insisted there have been no takeover talks over the frozen-food specialist.

Speaking to just-food today (13 December), a spokesman for Landsbanki played down weekend reports that the bank was in discussions with a consortium of investors from the Gulf led by the Global Banking Corporation of Bahrain.

"It's not true. We are preparing the sale process [but] all speculation is premature," the spokesman said. "There are no discussions and no formal sale process has begun."

The reports of interest from the Gulf was the latest rumour to emerge over the future of Iceland Foods. Two months ago, the retailer's founder and current CEO Malcolm Walker, who owns 24% of the business, was reported to have made a GBP1bn (US$1.58bn) offer to buy out Landsbanki and fellow shareholder and Icelandic bank Glitnir. Reports then said that Walker's offer was rejected.

Speaking this afternoon from Reykjavik, the Landsbanki spokesman admitted there had been interest in Iceland Foods but said no formal bids had been tabled. He also refused to be drawn on the identity of the potential suitors.

"There have been parties that have shown interest but nothing formal is going on," the spokesman said.

Officials at the Global Banking Corporation of Bahrain had not returned a request for comment as just-food went to press.