Sunday 19 November 2017

Greencore's Northern mess makes it a prime target for Kerry

LAST week Greencore chief executive Patrick Coveney, brother of new Agriculture Minister Simon, finally bowed to the inevitable and walked away from his company's proposed merger with UK own-label food producer Northern Foods.

Ever since Ranjit Boparan gatecrashed the Greencore/ Northern Foods merger last January with a blockbuster £342m all-cash bid, it has been clear that Coveney's plan to merge the firms was hanging by a thread. Last week's announcement was merely acknowledgement of what most observers had concluded -- that Greencore couldn't afford to match the price Boparan was offering.

So where does Greencore go from here? With the company capitalised at a mere €243m at the current share price and its debts having been reduced to €193m following last year's disposal of its malting business, Greencore, the largest sandwich producer in the UK, is starting to look like an acquisition target itself.

With its Freshways subsidiary already the largest producer of sandwiches in Ireland, the acquisition of Greencore would give the Kerry Group top slot in the UK sandwich market also. Maybe Coveney should give Kerry boss Stan McCarthy a call.

Sunday Indo Business

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