Wednesday 26 April 2017

Aryzta may be forced to close US factories

New Aryzta chairman Gary McGann will have to ask himself if the group can become the global force CEO Owen Killian thought it could be Picture: Mark Condren
New Aryzta chairman Gary McGann will have to ask himself if the group can become the global force CEO Owen Killian thought it could be Picture: Mark Condren
Samantha McCaughren

Samantha McCaughren

Swiss-Irish food company Aryzta could be broken up in the future, according to market sources who expect major changes following last week's announcement that chief executive Owen McKillen and two other executives are to resign.

Societe Generale analyst Warren Ackerman, who was one of the first commentators to publicly criticise the company, said there were significant problems in the US.

"The fundamental issue is that Aryzta has too much spare capacity in the US. In our view, a full review of its cost base is needed and we suspect US factory closures will be required," he said.

"A quick turnaround is not likely and its margin guidance is still too optimistic."

A number of sources also raised concerns over the likely price that Aryzta will get for its 49pc stake in French frozen food company Picard.

Some analysts have suggested that a price as low as €300m may be achieved - after it paid €446m for the stake in 2015.

Last week Aryzta chairman Gary McGann said it had begun talks with Lion Capital, which owns 51pc of Picard, "to evaluate investment alternatives" for the French business.

Sunday Indo Business

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