The prospective transaction is aligned with management’s strategy of complementing strong organic growth in the base business with the acquisition of market-leading frozen food brands across Europe. It follows the finalising of Nomad's announcement in November last year that it had agreed to acquire Findus Switzerland for €110m.
FFBG has a European frozen food portfolio of iconic local brands with strong consumer awareness in Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovina and several other countries in Southeastern Europe. It is the market leader in these regions, where it operates across numerous categories including fish, fruits, vegetables, ready meal, pastry and ice cream, according to UK-based Nomad Foods, whose brands include Birds Eye, Findus, iglo, Aunt Bessie's and Goodfella's.
Extends Nomad's portfolio
The acquisition of FFBG would extend Nomad’s portfolio into new and developing European markets while also creating a beachhead for potential future consolidation within Central and Eastern Europe.
The company said discussions were at a preliminary stage and there could be no assurance that a transaction would be completed. The company stated that it did not intend to provide further updates unless there was a definitive outcome to the discussions.
James Pearson, Fortenova group’s chief financial officer, said: “Nomad Foods is a company with outstanding investment and operational track record that has a clear focus on frozen foods segment in Europe. There is of course still a lot of work to do and a number of conditions that need to be fulfilled before coming to a final agreement, but we fully expect to be able to do this.
'Extremely strong potential partner'
“Multi-party due diligence process for the FFBG has been brought to a successful completion by our acceptance to continue negotiations exclusively with Nomad Foods, who have so far proved to be an extremely strong potential partner for our FFBG."
Fabris Peruško, Fortenova Group’s chief executive officer and member of the board of directors, said: "Fortenova Group’s ultimate goal, over and above maximizing value, remains the conclusion of a transaction with a strategic partner who will make the maximum contribution to the further development of the FFBG and recognize the full value and potential of this business and its people.
“This transaction is part of the process of the capital structure optimization that will enable the further development of the Fortenova Group. I expect the next phase of the FFBG sale process to be completed by the end of Q1 [first financial quarter] this year through the signing of a sale and purchase agreement.
"If so, the transaction could be completed post receipt of regulatory approvals, as early as Summer 2021. We will continue to keep our people and the market informed of further developments in a timely manner.”