Green­core aban­dons state­side am­bi­tions

Con­ve­nience food gi­ant sells en­tire US op­er­a­tion after al­most a decade

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DUBLIN-HEAD­QUAR­TERED con­ve­nience foods gi­ant Green­core (GNC) is set to sell (15 Oct) its en­tire US busi­ness, bring­ing its near-decade long at­tempt to crack Amer­ica to an end.

While it is an em­bar­rass­ing climb-down for the group it at least looks a canny deal. Green­core will dis­trib­ute £509m of the pro­ceeds to share­hold­ers through a spe­cial div­i­dend and use the bal­ance to pare down debt.

Sand­wiches-to-sal­ads sup­plier Green­core is sell­ing the chal­lenged US busi­ness, beefed up in scale through 2016’s £594.3m Pea­cock Foods ac­qui­si­tion, to Amer­i­can con­tract food maker Hearth­side for £817m.

Aban­don­ing its US am­bi­tions two years after bet­ting big on Amer­ica is dis­ap­point­ing, yet Nu­mis Se­cu­ri­ties points out the busi­ness is be­ing sold for an at­trac­tive im­plied EV/EBITDA mul­ti­ple of 13.4 times.

More­over, the sale will leave Green­core fo­cused on the at­trac­tive UK Food to Go mar­ket, where it has a lead­ing po­si­tion and mar­gin ex­pan­sion op­por­tu­ni­ties. (JC)

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