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Boparan Greencore bid would ‘amaze’ analysts

By Dan Colombini , 04-Nov-2011
Last updated on 04-Nov-2011 at 13:55 GMT

Boparan is unlikely to make a move for Greencore after acquiring Northern Foods in March
Boparan is unlikely to make a move for Greencore after acquiring Northern Foods in March

As the search for the mystery suitor of Greencore continues, experts have ruled out food magnate Ranjit Boparan as a potential buyer saying there is “absolutely no possibility” that the 2 Sisters boss could be a contender.

Analysts believe that Boparan is unlikely to make a move for the firm having recently acquired Northern Foods in a £342M deal in March.

On top of the price of the business, it is thought Boparan Holdings also inherited a £200M pension liability and a further £200M in debt, which makes an offer for Greencore out of the question, experts have said.

Darren Shirley, analyst at Shore Capital, told Food Manufacture.co.uk: “I would be amazed if he [Boparan] was interested. Boparan Holdings paid a lot of money for Northern Foods and his experience is in the own-label arena. After inheriting a lot of brands, he will be focussing on extracting the value from that business.”

Another analyst told Food Manufacture.co.uk: “I would be amazed if he was a potential contender, in fact I’d say there is absolutely no possibility of it.”

Low margins

He agreed that Boparan Holdings is likely to have its hands full integrating the Northern takeover and reaffirmed his belief that a private equity player is the most likely suitor.

Last week, speculation amongst experts was rife that a private equity firm was the most realistic candidate as UK or overseas food businesses are unlikely to be interested in acquiring the firm. As an own-label business, it produced low margins and would not fit a brand strategy, analysts said.

Following news of the mystery suitor last week, Damian McNeela, analyst at Panmure Gordon, told Food Manufacture.co.uk: “It’s difficult to see any local food player gearing up to take Greencore out. That would lead to a private equity or possibly management offer. Greencore has a US presence, so it could be US private equity.

Management buy out

Although private equity appears to be the most likely prospect, analysts are also not ruling out the possibility of a management buy out for the firm.

Clive Black, analyst at Shore Capital told Food Manufacture.co.uk: “We cannot rule out that management may be involved in any change of ownership of the business in tandem perhaps with private equity".

Shirley agreed, although the current speculation lies with private equity, “there is a possibility of management involvement”.

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