Blog: Dean BestIs poultry magnate Boparan hatching plan for Northern Foods?

Dean Best | 7 December 2010

A bit of fresh intrigue has developed around the planned merger between Ireland-based convenience food group Greencore and its UK peer Northern Foods.

The two companies last month announced plans to create Essenta Foods, a company with annual sales of GBP1.7bn (US$2.69bn) and serving the UK's largest supermarkets.

Greencore chief executive Patrick Coveney - soon-to-be CEO of Essenta - described the "not a merger of equals or the best of both, but a better than both in terms of the outcomes we are seeking".

Analysts cheered the deal, arguing the new company's more diverse customer base and greater scale would give it more leverage with the UK multiples.

Coveney outlined how Essenta would be based in Dublin, have a London listing and was set to be formally created by March.

In the meantime, Northern chief executive Stefan Barden quickly found himself a new job at foodservice group Brakes.

In all, the merger of Greencore and Northern looked like a deal that would go ahead with no serious hitches.

However, it has emerged over the weekend that Ranjit Boparan, the owner of UK poultry giant 2 Sisters Food Group and fish-and-chip-shop chain Harry Ramsden's has been building a stake in Northern since the announcement of the Greencore deal.

Through his Saerimner Ltd vehicle, Boparan has acquired a 6.6% stake in Northern, prompting some to suggest that the poultry magnate could make a counter bid for the UK firm.

Greencore and Northern shareholders vote on the merger plans in January so we are likely going to have to wait until then for Boparan's plans to emerge.

However, on paper, the Greencore-Northern merger looks a deal that is hard to beat.

For one, the two companies are key own-label suppliers to UK supermarkets and the merger is likely to create substantial synergies.

Could Boparan better the proposed tie-up?


BLOG

Danone closes WhiteWave, who will acquire Stonyfield?

Danone completed its US$12.5bn acquisition of WhiteWave Foods this week. The move will roughly double Danone's presence in North America, where WhiteWave is a top four dairy player. ...

BLOG

Premier Foods pension news offers cheer but challenges remain

Premier Foods plc revealed today (28 March) it has secured a deal with its pension scheme trustees that will see the UK food maker reduce its pension burden....

BLOG

Another reshuffling of pack at Hain Celestial

Hain Celestial, under the scrutiny of the investment community in recent months and facing some challenges in its domestic market, has announced another shuffling of its management pack....

BLOG

FrieslandCampina looking to sell final non-dairy asset

FrieslandCampina, which today served up higher profits but lower sales for 2016, is ready to offload the last non-dairy business owned by the Dutch cooperative giant....

just-food homepage



Forgot your password?