Monday 25 June 2018

Goodfellas buyer adds Yorkshire pud to its packed freezer

Buying Aunt Bessie's will add the company's frozen pies, vegetables and pastry mixes to Nomad's portfolio of brands
Buying Aunt Bessie's will add the company's frozen pies, vegetables and pastry mixes to Nomad's portfolio of brands

Melissa Mittelman

Aunt Bessie's Yorkshire puddings and roast potatoes, the side dishes that are part of a traditional British roast dinner, will soon have a new owner.

Nomad Foods, the frozen-foods company backed by entrepreneurs Martin Franklin and Noam Gottesman, has agreed to acquire British prepared foods maker Aunt Bessie's from William Jackson & Son Ltd, according to people familiar with the matter.

The deal is likely to value Aunt Bessie's at about €240m, which is around 10 times adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation.

Earlier this year, Nomad Foods bought Green Isle's Irish and British pizza brands Goodfellas and San Marco from UK-based Boparan Holding for €225m.

Buying Aunt Bessie's will add the company's frozen pies, vegetables and pastry mixes to Nomad's portfolio of brands that now includes Birds Eye, Findus and Iglo.

It would also build out Nomad's footprint in the UK, adding to its acquisition of Goodfella's Pizza, which was completed in April.

The UK is Nomad's largest market by revenues, according to its annual report.

Nomad reported first-quarter results in May, topping analyst estimates and sending shares higher as it raised earnings guidance to the high end of prior expectations.

While the company's stock fell in late 2015 and into 2016 as it integrated two large acquisitions, Nomad's refocus on core products has helped it gain 85pc since the start of 2017.

"The company is now enjoying the opportunity to play offence," co-chairmen Mr Franklin and Mr Gottesman wrote in the company's 2017 annual report.

Irish Independent

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