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