Blog: Dean BestTalk of IPO of Australia's Manassen Foods returns

Dean Best | 29 October 2015

Speculation Bright Food is planning to float its Australian asset, the distributor Manassen Foods, has resurfaced, with a report the Chinese giant has hired banking advisers to line up a listing next year.

Bloomberg said today (29 October) state-backed Bright Food is looking at floating Manassen in Hong Kong.

Bright Food's plans for Manassen, which it acquired in 2011, have been the subject of reports for the last year. Last November, Bloomberg said Bright Food was looking at listing Bright Food and its UK cereal business by Weetabix the end of 2016.

At the start of this year, Reuters said Bright Food was looking to list Manassen - which distributes brands including McVitie's digestives, Ryvita crispbread and The Laughing Cow cheeses - this year.

Today's Bloomberg article suggested there has been some movement on Manassen, with the hiring of an investment bank to lead the IPO and with unnamed sources saying Bright Food plans to inject its stake in Chinese food wholesaler Shanghai Qinzhou Trading Co. into Manassen before the float.

A spokesperson for Bright Food confirmed to the newswire the company had started to prepare for an IPO but had not finalised details.

In May, there was a change of shareholder at Weetabix after Bright Food, which owns 60% of Weetabix, acquired the other 40% of the business from UK-based private-equity firm Lion Capital and sold it on the shares to Baring Private Equity Asia.

Last month, Bright Food completed its latest acquisition in western markets, snapping up Spanish wholesaler Miquel Alimentació.

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