His comments followed a report by Sky News that claimed PAI Partners – which recently partnered with Charles Jobson to acquire Wessanen – was looking to purchase Hain Daniels, owner of the Jam brand Hartley’s.
Wild said the British arm of the business had had a torrid time in recent years and had become a problem Hain Celestial could do without.
Lack of growth
Through a sustained acquisition programme, Hain Daniels has bought a number of brands – such as Sun-Pat, Robertson’s and Frank Coop’s – but none of them has shown dynamic and high growth, Wild explained.
“The result is that it has three divisions – fruit, chilled/frozen and grocery – which don’t sit comfortably together and are quite a disparate bundle of brands,” he said.
“It is a business which, in a normal economic climate, is probably worth more for the sum of the parts than for the whole. It does look like a classic break-up target and PAI Partners probably sees it that way. It’s very difficult to value, but it will be a long way short of the ‘value of investment figure’.”
Accounts for the business to June 2018 reinforced Wild’s opinion. While the value of investment in Hain Daniels’ subsidiaries was reported at £430m, the total business saw a pre-tax loss of £7.7m, similar to the previous year.
“It has been rumoured for some time that Hain was looking to offload the UK business,” Wild added.
Meanwhile, last week, specialist ingredients firm Thew Arnott Group completed the sale of its colours business to a specialist firm in Germany for an undisclosed sum, which allowed the firm to focus on its core ingredients business.