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August 29, 2017

McVitie’s owner Yildiz reveals expansion plans

Turkey's biscuit giant Yildiz Holding is planning to strengthen its UK arm and looking to expand further overseas.

By Andy Coyne

Turkey’s biscuit giant Yildiz Holding is planning to strengthen its UK arm and looking to expand further overseas.

And the company, which owns McVitie’s biscuits and Jacob’s crackers, has reiterated its plans to float its UK arm Pladis on the London Stock Exchange as early as 2019.

In a move being interpreted by some as a hedge against political instability at home, the world’s third-largest biscuit maker has announced plans to refinance loans and sell shares in various businesses to strengthen its hub in the UK and drive an expansion in the more than 120 markets in which it distributes.

Reports in Turkey and the Middle East suggest Yildiz – which set up Pladis, a UK-based umbrella company to combine United Biscuits, Goduva Chocolatier, Ulker and DeMet’s Candy Company in 2016 – will ‘roll over’ more than US$1bn in loans belonging to its United Biscuits Holdings and Ulker Biskuvi Sanayi units at lower rates.

London-based United Biscuits will get a five-year, GBP725m (US$939.2m) unsecured loan next month from a group of mostly European banks, which will be used to refinance an existing seven-year, GBP671m loan. 

Ulker, Turkey’s biggest snacks producer, will also get a loan of as much as US$400m after the United Biscuits deal.

The company has also said it sees significant opportunities for growth in the Middle East, North America, Africa and Asia.

The holding company will sell another 30% of Ulker to Pladis, which will eventually control 51% of Ulker.

Istanbul-based Ulker is in talks to buy the Saudi Arabian unit of United Biscuits and McVitie’s sales rights in the Middle East and north Africa. It will use proceeds from an earlier loan of US$375m that it secured in April to finance the acquisition.

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