Kerry Group, the Ireland-based food and ingredients firm, reportedly may officially put its consumer-facing division on the market “within weeks”.
According to The Irish Independent newspaper, the division, home to brands including Richmond sausages and Pure dairy-free spreads, is likely to be divided up for sale rather than a wholesale disposal.
The newspaper wrote this morning (28 January) Kerry is expected to initiate a formal sales process for its consumer-facing division to “flush out buyers” by the end of the current quarter and possibly as early as its annual results on 16 February.
A number of interested bidders appear to be in the running.
The newspaper said several sources suggested London-based private-equity firm CapVest Partners, which already owns a number of food businesses including Ireland’s Valeo Foods and Eight Fifty Food Group, is a “strong candidate to bid for the Irish part of the business”, which houses chilled brands such as Galtee cheese.
just-food has approached Kerry for comment on the proceedings.
CapVest said it had no comment to make when approached by just-food.
The newspaper claims Kerry's ready-meals business in the UK maybe more problematic in terms of finding a buyer, although its sources suggest private-label manufacturers Greencore and Bakkavor, along with the Ginsters pasty brand owner Samworth Brothers, could be interested.
Goodbody, a Dublin-based financial services firm, estimates the value of the consumer-facing division at EUR650m (US$786.6m), according to today's report in The Irish Independent, and has suggested the Irish and UK operations will be split up for sale.
There has been much speculation over the future of Kerry's businesses in recent weeks. Nine days ago the same publication reported, citing sources, Kerry Co-operative Creameries is set to buy a 60% stake in Kerry Group's primary dairy operations, and said the co-op's board had agreed to go ahead with the purchase.