Ex-largo boss in talks to buy firms in­clud­ing Done­gal Catch

Belfast Telegraph - Business Telegraph - - News - BY JOHN MUL­LI­GAN

THE former chief ex­ec­u­tive of Ir­ish crisp-maker Largo Foods, Mau­rice Hickey, has en­tered ex­clu­sive talks to buy a clutch of Green Isle busi­nesses in­clud­ing Done­gal Catch.

The busi­ness has been up for sale since ear­lier this year, with the Done­gal Catch and the frozen-food busi­ness ex­pected to fetch more than €50m (£44m).

The planned sale of the as­sets by UK food baron Ran­jit Singh Boparan’s 2 Sis­ters Food Group in­cludes Done­gal Catch, Green Isle’s frozen-food busi­ness, a man­u­fac­tur­ing site in Por­tumna, Co Gal­way, and the Green Isle brand it­self, it is be­lieved. The Por­tumna fac­tory makes frozen pas­try.

Green Isle’s Good­fella’s and San Marco pizza busi­ness was sold ear­lier this year by 2 Sis­ters to Nomad Foods for €225m (£198m). Nomad Foods also owns brands in­clud­ing Birds Eye and Fin­dus. That sale in­cluded man­u­fac­tur­ing sites in Co Long­ford and Co Kil­dare, as well as a lo­gis­tics team in Ire­land and a mar­ket­ing team in the UK. The pizza busi­ness em­ploys about 430 peo­ple.

The re­main­ing Green Isle busi­nesses em­ploy about 300 peo­ple.

At the time of the sale of the pizza divi­sion, Mr Boparan, who owns 2 Sis­ters through his Boparan Hold­ings ve­hi­cle and has been dubbed the ‘Chicken King’, said that the re­main­ing Green Isle busi­ness would re­main within the 2 Sis­ters group. Boparan Hold­ings ac­quired own­er­ship of Green Isle through its takeover in 2011 of North­ern Foods for £342m.

Mr Hickey, who stepped down from his role at Largo Foods ear­lier this year, is un­der­stood to have se­cured pri­vate eq­uity back­ing for his tilt at the Green Isle busi­ness.

When con­tacted he de­clined to com­ment about the Green Isle sales process.

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