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Boyne Valley buys Premier brands for €41.1m after beating off rivals

THE makers of Boyne Valley Honey have signed a €41.1m deal to buy a portfolio of well-known food brands, including Erin soup and Chiver jams.

Privately owned Boyne Valley Group is understood to have beaten rival interest from Irish competitors DCC and Valeo Foods to secure the deal.

Last night, London-listed Premier Foods confirmed that it had signed the deal to sell its Chivers jam, Gateaux cakes, McDonnells noodles and Erinsoup brands to Boyne Valley Group.

Boyne Valley will pay €41.1m in cash for the brands. Premier said the Irish brands being sold were valued at €39.2m at the end of last year. However, further investment will be required under the new owners to develop the brands, once the deal completes.

The four brands being acquired had turnover of €26m in the 12 months to the end of October, and EBITDA of €9.4m.

Privately owned Boyne Valley Group is best known as the producers of Boyne Valley Honey, but its range of brands includes Kileen cleaning products, Don Carlos olive oils, Panda peanut butter and the Lakeshore mustard brand.

The Drogheda-based company also has the licences to distribute Pepsi, Walkers Crisps and the Tropicana juice brands in Ireland. The most recent Boyne Valley accounts filed with the Companies Office date back to 2004. At the time, turnover was €76m and the business generated profits of €11m.

Though little known to the wider public, company founder and owner Malachy McCloskey has near legendary status in the grocery sector, and has been responsible for decades of export replacement since the business was founded.

The company is managed by CEO John Harkin, and former C&C and Quinnsworth boss Maurice Pratt is a non-executive director.

"We are pleased to be acquiring these strong and well-established Irish Brands with a loyal customer base. With additional investment, we believe we can grow these brands further.

"They fit well within our existing food portfolio which includes olive oil, relishes, home-baking and honey," John Harkin said yesterday.

Premier Foods said it would use proceeds of the sale to pay down debt. The takeover deal is expected to complete in early 2012, and is not thought to require competition authority approval. The companies have signed a manufacturing agreements that will see Premier Foods continue to manufacture the Irish brands for three years.

The four brands are collectively called Premier Foods Ireland and are based in Dublin with 57 employees.

Premier Foods is being advised by Stamford Partners and A&L Goodbody.

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