2 Sisters Food Group is looking to offload Donegal Catch, the Irish fish brand it owns under its Green Isle Foods division, reports The Times.
Ranjit Singh Boparan’s diversified UK food group, which started out as a chicken supplier, has brought in corporate finance advisers from Clearwater International to work on the sale, according to the report. According to The Times, Boparan is looking for £50 million for Donegal Catch.
On Jan. 17, 2 Sisters announced an agreement to sell Green Isle, which owns Goodfella’s Pizza, to Nomad Foods, the owner of the Findus, Iglo and Birds Eye frozen food brands.
However, a spokesman for 2 Sisters confirmed to Undercurrent News at the time that Donegal Catch is not part of the sale. According to The Times, Nomad is prevented from buying Donegal Catch due to competition issues.
The deal nets Boparan €225m at a time when his heavily leveraged empire is under pressure.
2 Sisters — which also owns Five Star Fish in Grimsby — has been built up through a series of acquisitions that has also left the company laden with debt.
The largest deal Boparan has pulled off is the £342m takeover and delisting of Northern Foods in 2011. This is how he came to own Green Isle. This came a year after the entrepreneur got into fish, buying Five Star from administration.
Also, has acquired the turkey business Bernard Matthews and the restaurant chains FishWorks, Giraffe and Harry Ramsden’s.
2 Sisters had debt of £824m at the end of last year, which are 5.4 times its core earnings. According to The Times, £250m of is debt expires in July next year.
Also, an undercover investigation last year by The Guardian and ITV showed food standards breaches from workers at a 2 Sisters chicken factory, with birds retrieved from the floor and put back on prodcution lines. Older chickens were also being mixed with fresher ones.
According to Undercurrent sources, this prompted Marks and Spencer to audit Five Star, which has taken on its coated fish supply from Seachill UK, now part of 2 Sisters’ rival Hilton Food Group.
Source: Undercurrent News
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