ABF is examining a GBP250m  takeover bid for Tilda

ABF is examining a GBP250m takeover bid for Tilda

Associated British Foods has lodged an interest in UK packaged rice business Tilda, just-food understands.

The Patak's and Blue Dragon ethnic cuisine owner is examining whether to bid for the privately-owned firm.

When contacted by just-food today (27 November), a spokesperson for ABF declined to comment.

The brand is understood to have been put up for sale by its founding shareholders, the Thakrar family, who have appointed investment bankers at Rothschild to oversee the auction.

According to Sky News, Tilda has attracted "strong" interest from trade buyers and private-equity groups.

Earlier this month, ABF posted after an expected drop in full-year sugar earnings weighed on its outlook, despite an improvement in its grocery business, which includes Patak's and Blue Dragon.

In ABF's grocery division, margins improved with a recovery in both the baking and meat businesses of George Weston Foods in Australia. Operating profit from the unit was up 24% to GBP232m (US$377.8). Sales increased 3% to GBP3.84bn.

ABF's ethnic cuisine assets are grouped together in a business called AB World Foods. In the year to 14 September, it said AB World Foods "made good progress" seeing Patak's and Blue Dragon sales grow in the UK.

The company also launched products under the brands overseas, including in Canada, Australia and Mexico.