AUSTRALIA: Speculation over Gelatin sale
Goodman Fielder, Australia's largest food company, is not commenting on reports that the group was in negotiations to sell it's A$300m gelatin business.
The Australian Financial Review said today (16 January) that the company was set to divest the asset within four weeks ahead of the delivery of a strategic review, and the release of the company's first half-year results. Market speculation as to potential buyers centre on Danone, SKW Trostberg, and Hercules Inc.
Goodman Fielder would not comment on whether the pending strategic review included possible divestments, but chief executive David Hearn has indicated before that the company's asset utilisation had to be improved. "Non-performing assets will not be tolerated. They must be fixed or they must go," he said.
The newspaper reported that sales for the company's starch and gelatin operations in the year to June 30 fell 3% to $398.2m, while earnings before interest and tax dropped 31.6% to $23.8m.
French food company Groupe Danone, the subject of takeover speculation, has reported a rise in sales in the first half of 2005 to €6.437bn (US$7.8bn), compared with 6.257bn a year ago....
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HP Foods, maker of HP and Lea & Perrins sauces, has attracted at least three offers, valuing the company at up to £500m (US$906m), according to the Financial Times....
France's Groupe Danone and Japan's Yakult Honsha have today (Tuesday) announced plans for a joint venture in India....
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