Saturday 22 July 2017

Aryzta evaluating its stake in frozen food company Picard

Gary McGann
Gary McGann

Ellie Donnelly

Aryzta, the Dublin-listed global food business, has said that it is carrying out a review of possible alternatives for its 49pc shareholding in French frozen food company Picard.

The statement comes following speculation regarding its stake in Picard, which saw share prices in Zurich-based Aryzta rise as much as 6.8pc in Zurich trading on Friday.

“The board, consistent with its obligations as a listed company, would announce any

substantive change or key business development to the market as a whole at the earliest practical opportunity,” the statement from the Cuisine de France maker said. The company went on to say that, given the pace of management transition and the extent of operational reviews under way, it was not in a position to provide guidance and prior guidance should be relied upon.

In February this year the company said that it had begun talks with Lion Capital, which owns 51pc of Picard “to evaluate investment alternatives” for the French business. Meanwhile, in March this year, the company announced that senior staff CEO Owen Killian; CFO/COO Patrick McEniff and CEO Americas John Yamin would depart the company on March 31 – it had originally been announced that they would leave by the end of July. Gary McGann is chairman of the company and has taken a more hands-on role since the start of the year.

This comes on the back of a dismal couple of years for the food giant, which has its roots in the Irish Agricultural Wholesalers Society .

The blame for the lacklustre financial performance of the company has been laid squarely at the senior executives’ feet, after they pursued the

maligned €446m acquisition in 2015 of a 49pc stake in

Picard. That has been compounded by difficulties in North America, and Europe generally.

Irish Independent

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