Findus in talks over building war chest

Steve Dinneen
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FINDUS Group, the frozen foods company that makes Crispy Pancakes, is in discussions with banks with a view to funding a possible £1bn acquisition war chest.

The private-equity owned food group confirmed it has met with its banking syndicate, which includes Lloyds, RBS and JP Morgan. It added that it is considering all options, including making acquisitions and internal growth.

A spokesman said: “The company confirms that it has approached its lending syndicate to seek an appropriate long term financial structure to fund the business’s future expansion. It is expected that this growth will predominately be organic in nature, whilst not ruling out bolt on strategic acquisitions.

“The new structure, if agreed, will increase the company’s ability to expand and will be in sterling thereby significantly reducing the substantial currency effects of Findus’s current euro-denominated borrowings.”

Findus did not say how much it was hoping to raise, although the it is understood to be aiming for £1bn.

Weetabix owner Lion Capital acquired Findus and rival frozen foods business Young’s for a combined £1.1bn in 2008 from private equity house CapVest.

Lion also bought French frozen-food firm Picard Surgeles from BC Partners in July last year in the country’s biggest leveraged buyout since the September 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers. People familiar with the matter said the deal placed an enterprise value of about €1.5bn (£1.3bn) on Picard.