Monday 22 January 2018

Kerry's UK buy gets approval


Peter Flanagan

SHARES in Kerry Group rose yesterday after the UK Competition Commission (CC) finally approved the Irish firm's purchase of Headland Foods.

Kerry had agreed to acquire the UK frozen foods maker in January but the CC announced in July it would investigate the deal after complaints by customers of substantial price rises since the takeover had gone through.

When the probe was announced the CC said Kerry and Headland's main customers had expressed "strong concerns" about the deal, with some claiming that Kerry was looking for price hikes of as much as 30pc.

In a provisional ruling released yesterday, however, the CC pointed to "evidence that several customers have successfully found alternative suppliers since the merger in response to proposed price rises from Kerry/Headland, and at prices similar to those they had been paying prior to switching".

Analysts welcomed the news, with Bloxham Stockbrokers saying it was "an important hurdle to cross as Headland had been rationalised while imposing price discipline to the frozen foods market during 2011". Kerry climbed 0.3pc to €26.94.

Irish Independent

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