French poultry giant Groupe Doux, which is in administration, has attracted “around a dozen” takeover bids, just-food understands.

Local agri-food investment group, Sofiprotéol, which is piloting a coordinated bid from a ‘consortium’ of companies for Doux, is the front runner.

Sofiprotéol tabled an improved bid this week. The offer includes a pledge to retain more jobs at Doux than it initially planned.

Sofiprotéol’s partners in the consortium include Duc, LDC, Terrena and Tilly-Sabco. The bids for Doux include offers from Sofiprotéol’s partners acting independently of the consortium, either individually or in joint ventures. There is one bid from a company not part of the consortium – French holding company Financiere Turenne Lafayette.

Doux’s administrators will present the Sofiprotéol bid and others to the Quimper Tribunal de Commerce on Friday but the court is likely to defer its decision until next week.

Doux went into administration last month amid debts estimated at EUR400m. The Doux family, which founded the company and owns 80% of the business, wants remain a shareholder in the group and continue to run the business. 

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It has submitted plans to reduce its stake from to 10-15% with main creditor Barclays taking control. Doux would conserve the ready meals and export side of the business but not its fresh products activities.