According to El Mundo newspaper, Shuanghui is “studying an offer” for Campofrio

According to El Mundo newspaper, Shuanghui is “studying an offer” for Campofrio

Chinese pork group Shuanghui International has remained coy over reports it is planning a bid for Spanish meat processor Campofrio.

The Spanish meat group's shares were up 5.8% on claims Shuanghui, which has a stake in Campofrio through its acquisition of US meat firm Smithfield Foods this year, might challenge an offer by Sigma Alimentos for the firm.

According to Spanish newspaper El Mundo, Shuanghui, which owns 37% of Campofrio, is "studying an offer" for the business, people close to the situation told the publication.

Shuanghui yesterday signed an US$8bn non-binding funding agreement with Bank of China as it seeks to expand, possibly through acquisitions.

The company, however, declined to comment on any potential bid for Campofrio. "The company is not going to comment about its stake in Campofrio," it told just-food.

Shuanghui had already signalled its intention to reduce its 37% stake in Campofrio in order to avoid triggering a mandatory offer for the Spanish meat firm, per Spanish securities requirements. Shuanghui was left with an enlarged stake in Campofrio following the firm's acquisition of US pork processor Smithfield Foods.

However, the Chinese company has not been touted as one of the Campofrio shareholders to have already indicated they would approve Sigma's takeover bid.

Sigma, the food arm of Mexican conglomerate Alfa, this month launched a bid to acquire Campofrio. The company has offered EUR6.80 per share for Campofrio, equivalent to an equity value of EUR675m (US$908m) and an enterprise value of EUR1.12bn.

It has struck deals with Oaktree Capital, which controls 27.9% of Campofrio and the Caixa bank, which holds 4.2%. Sigma has also received the backing of Campofrio chairman Pedro Ballvé, who will offer the 12% stake held by the Ballvé family following an agreement that will then see him become a co-investor and continue in his post as chairman for a further five years.

However, no official bid can be made by the firm until its interest has been approved via an official tender process. A decision is expected in around 15 to 20 days.

Click here for just-food's analysis of why Sigma has bid for Campofrio.