Greencore delays vote at Northern

GREENCORE successfully postponed Northern Foods’ shareholder meeting yesterday, giving it more time to put together an improved offer to rival Boparan’s £342m takeover.

Northern Foods and Greencore, which agreed to merge in November before Boparan intervened, held meetings with the Takeover Panel over the weekend to decide whether to cancel their planned votes on the all-but-defunct merger deal.

Northern had hoped to hold its EGM to allow its shareholders to decisively reject Greencore as a partner, leaving it clear to press on with Boparan’s plan.

The shareholder votes were required under European cross-border M&A rules.

Meanwhile, Greencore’s annual general meeting went ahead yesterday without a vote on the tie-in.

Greencore’s management said it was continuing to examine its options to improve upon Boparan’s all-cash bid, which is thought to include adding a cash sweetener to its earlier no-premium merger package.

Greencore chairman Ned Sullivan told investors in Dublin that the firm managed to increase revenues from convenience foods by 7.6 per cent compared to last year in the three months leading up to Christmas, and that it is on track for a strong performance in 2011.