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April 8, 2008

JAPAN: Steel Partners puts pressure on House Foods

Steel Partners has continued its charge through the Japanese food industry, this time targeting House Foods in its bid to heighten shareholder value.

Steel Partners has continued its charge through the Japanese food industry, this time targeting House Foods in its bid to heighten shareholder value.

The US investment fund has requested that House Foods unwind its cross shareholding arrangements and boost shareholder returns through dividend payouts and stock buyback.

House Foods’ capital efficiency is deteriorating because of the large amount of stock and other securities it holds, Steel Partners claimed. 

The US fund’s proposal also calls for streamlining manufacturing operations, reconsidering the product portfolio and appointing independent directors.

“With operational and financial initiatives geared towards improving margins to global standards and optimizing the Company’s capital structure, House Foods can improve corporate and shareholder value to the levels of its international peers,” Steel Partners’ Warren Lichtenstein commented.

Steel Partners owns 8.48% of the Japanese food maker.

The US investment group has tried to flex its muscle in the Japanese food sector of late, putting similar proposals designed to boost returns to the boards of Nissin Foods and Bull-Dog Sauce Co.

Steel Partners was unavailable for further comment as just-food went to press.

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