Greencore desserts facility sold to Müller


GREENCORE IS continuing to progress the integration of the Uniq food company it bought last year with the announcement that it has sold its desserts facility in Minsterley to Müller for £4.3 million.

The facility in Shropshire, England, has been loss-making for Uniq, and the company had already commenced a review of its desserts business before its acquisition by Greencore.

Muller will take over production of mousse and trifles which are made under licence for Cadbury.

The German company will take over production of the Minsterley factory, which employs around 80 people, in January next year.

Analysts welcomed the disposal. Goodbody Stockbroker noted that the net financial impact of the sale would be to reduce Greencore’s net debt in the 2013 financial year from £262.4 million to £258.1 million.

“The additional rationalisation that it entails should result in the desserts business (which was loss-making for the past two decades) being profitable by the end of FY 2013.”

Davy Stockbrokers said that it does not anticipate any material impact on profits as a result of the transaction.

Greencore bought British sandwich and dessert-maker Uniq for £113 million in July last year.

It subsequently moved its stock market listing to London, although it is still headquartered in Dublin.

Interim results for the six months ended March 30th, 2012, show that revenue at Greencore increased by 50 per cent during the period to £567.7 million, mainly as a result of the Uniq acquisition.

The company’s underlying revenue was up by 9.3 per cent. Operating profit jumped by 37.6 per cent in the first half to £30.7 million.

While most of Greencore’s business is based in the UK, where it is a major supplier of sandwiches, convenience food products, and other consumer foods to retailers, it has recently increased its presence in the American market, acquiring US convenience food company MarketFare this year for $36 million (€27.4 million). MarketFare is a major supplier to the convenience food chain 7-Eleven.