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Premier Foods to Sell Branston Pickles and Sauces Business

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Premier Foods to Sell Branston Pickles and Sauces Business

Premier Foods to Sell Branston Pickles and Sauces Business
October 30
14:23 2012

Premier Foods has agreed to sell its sweet pickles and table sauces business to Mizkan of Japan for a cash consideration of £92.5 million. Once the disposal is completed, Premier will have delivered around £370 million in disposal proceeds since March 2012, significantly exceeding the £330 million target it committed to achieve by June 2014 as part of its new financing arrangements. This will represent a reduction of approximately 30% in the company’s net debt since the position reported at the half year.

The disposal of the sweet pickles and table sauces business includes Branston sweet pickle, ketchup, relish, salad cream and mayonnaise, together with the company’s Bury St Edmunds factory in Suffolk. Completion of the disposal is expected to take place early in 2013 and all employees at the site are expected to transfer to Mizkan following an appropriate consultation process.

For the financial year ended 31 December 2011, sales of the sweet pickles and table sauces business were £66.0 million, of which 54% were branded sales. EBITDA for the year ended 31 December 2011 was £11.7 million and trading profit was £8.5 million.

Mizkan is one of the leading vinegar manufacturers in the world with operations in Japan, the US, the UK and other Asian countries. It has a stable of well-known international brands under the ‘mizkan’ umbrella brand and is a leader in the liquid condiment category.

Following completion of the disposal, the branded sales mix of Premier’s Grocery business will increase to approximately 90%.

Michael Clarke, chief executive Officer of Premier Foods, says: “I’m delighted to have exceeded our disposal target 20 months early while at the same time delivering three successive quarters of sales growth and taking £40 million of overhead costs out of the business this year. We can now focus our attention on driving further momentum in our Grocery business and unlocking value in Bread.”

Indeed, Premier Foods has hired US-based financial advisors Goldman Sachs to seek potential buyers for its Hovis bread division.

He continues: “Our disposals since March have achieved a healthy average EV/EBITDA multiple of 8.9x based on current year trading and expected overhead cost reductions. This is a good result in the current market.”

Kazuhide Matazaemon Nakano VIII, chief executive of Mizkan, comments: “Branston Sweet Pickle is an iconic brand that has established a market leading position. The Branston brand is also an excellent strategic fit with our global portfolio and adds to our solid foundation for growth in the UK.”

Mizkan had already purchased Premier Foods’ vinegar and sour pickles business, including the Sarson’s, Hayward’s and Dufrais brands, for £41 million earlier in the year.

Meanwhile, Premier Foods has completed the disposal of sweet spreads and jellies business to Hain Celestial. Premier Foods has received a cash payment of £170 million and will receive shares in Hain Celestial worth at least £30 million to make an aggregate consideration of £200 million.

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