Swiss-based bakery company ARYZTA plans to reduce its stake in agri-services company Origin Enterprises. 

The company, which currently holds 85.3m shares in Origin, will reduce its 68% stake by selling up to 49m shares in the group. 

The books for the placing will open with immediate effect, Aryzta said. J&E Davy and Goodbody Stockbrokers are acting as joint book runners. 

"Aryzta will publish the definitive number of shares placed and their price once the book-building process has been completed," Aryzta said. This is expected to be completed today (25 March), the company added. 

MainFirst analyst Alain Oberhuber said the step was "positive" for the group. In a note to investors he flagged the possibility that proceeds could be used for higher dividends or share buy-back. 

Oberhuber continued: "Aryzta becomes a pure food manufacturer play for better comparison to its peers. We like the transaction as it makes Aryzta a pure play. This is a move investors were waiting for.”

Aryzta shares had edged up 1.25% to EUR65.18 (US$74.18) at 9.15 (GMT) this morning.