Reckitt Benckiser – owner of the Dettol, Durex and Gaviscon brands – said French’s was a non-core part of its business, and it would explore future options for the food brand.
A Reckitt Benckiser statement said: “Further to recent press speculation, Reckitt Benckiser is announcing that we are beginning a strategic review of our food business.
‘Explore all options for this great business’
“French’s Food is a truly fantastic business with great brands, people and a history of outperformance. It is, nevertheless, non-core to Reckitt Benckiser. We have therefore decided to initiate a strategic review of Food, where we will explore all options for this great business,” it told the stock market this morning (April 3).
French’s Food – which makes mustard, ketchup, barbecue sauce and fried onions – could be sold for a reported £2.3bn. Kraft Heinz might be interested in French’s, after its failed attempt to buy Unilever in February.
Kraft Heinz told FoodManufacture.co.uk that it would not comment on rumour and speculation.
Profit generated from the French’s Food sale could be used to help fund its takeover of Mead Johnson, reported The Sunday Times yesterday (April 2). The Mead Johnson deal was announced on February 10.
Presence in developing markets
At the time, Reckitt Benckiser said the deal would “considerably strengthen” its presence in developing markets, particularly in China.
Reckitt Benckiser ceo Rakesh Kapoor said in February: “The acquisition of Mead Johnson is a significant step forward in Reckitt Benckiser’s journey as a leader in consumer health.
“Mead Johnson’s geographic footprint significantly strengthens our position in developing markets, which will account for approximately 40% of the combined group’s sales, with China becoming our second largest powermarket.”
Meanwhile, Nomad Foods – owner of Birds Eye and Findus – said it was considering strategic acquisitions this year, after it reported a 22.6% fall in profits in its fourth quarter of 2016.
Reckitt Benckiser’s strategic review of French’s Food
- Launched review of food division
- Could sell for about £2.3bn, it was reported
- Sale would help fund takeover of Mead Johnson