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Premier Foods sells Quorn and Cauldron for £205m
by Helia Ebrahimi - 25/01/2011
"Premier Foods, Britainís largest food producer, has put a small dent in its £1.4bn debt pile by offloading both Quorn and meat-free sausage brand Cauldron for £205m. "
Quorn was on the block for most of 2010, with buyers such as Nestlť and Unilever circling. However, the multinationalsí interest faded, creating room for private equity duo Exponent and Intermediate Capital Group to swoop. The price was roughly the same as what Premier paid for the brands in 2005.
Exponent has brought in ex-Golden Wonder chief executive Clive Sharpe to chair the company. It will look to focus on Quornís US expansion as it seeks to double sales in North America, a strategy that will demand considerably more financial investment.
For Premier, which was advised by NM Rothschild, the dealís value will have a limited impact on the groupís net debt, which is almost three times its £523m market value.
Shares in Premier, which makes Hovis bread, fell 2.5pc to 21.8p.
The companyís debt needs to be refinanced before 2013. Jim Smart, Premierís finance director, said he planned to improve its credit rating so he can tap the bond market this year to raise at least half of the bank debt outstanding.
More Details: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/retailandconsumer/8279574/Premier-Foods-sells-Quorn-and-Cauldron-for-205m.html