RNS Number : 5645U
26 June 2009
26 June 2009
For Immediate Release
UNIQ PLC ("Uniq")
Proposed disposal of French business for €73 million
Uniq, the European convenience foods group, announces that it has received a binding offer for the sale of its French business, Marie SAS ("Marie"), from Groupe L.D.C ("LDC"), the leading French poultry and delicatessen group ("the Proposed Disposal"). The transaction requires prior consultation with the Works Council of Marie (the "French Works Council") in accordance with French law.
Net proceeds, after costs, would be applied to pay down £25m of bank borrowings and cancel the related facilities, with a further £10 million available to support the retained businesses. The balance would be set aside for future investment opportunities and/or reducing the net UK pension deficit.
DESCRIPTION OF MARIE BUSINESS
Marie is a French manufacturer of chilled and frozen convenience foods, including pizza, quiches, pies and tarts, pancakes, individual quick frozen foods and ready meals. It has six manufacturing sites in France. Marie made an operating profit of €3.4 million (£2.7 million) in the year ended 31 December 2008 and at that date had net assets of €58 million (£56 million) and gross assets of €167 million (£161 million).
Commenting on the Proposed Disposal, Geoff Eaton, Chief Executive of Uniq, said:
"The proposed disposal of Marie to LDC would facilitate consolidation of the French market and we are delighted with this potential outcome of the disposal process we announced in March. The resultant reduction of our debt would strengthen our balance sheet and would be a significant step towards focusing Uniq on the UK and enabling us to concentrate our resources on building a strong platform for the future."
Following satisfactory completion of the French Works Council consultation process, Uniq would enter into a sale and purchase agreement and dispatch a circular to shareholders giving details of the transaction and containing notice of a general meeting
Note: £/€ exchange rate of 1.17 as of 25 June 2009 has been used for translating the values relating to this transaction. Historic information has been translated at the appropriate prevailing rates.
Uniq's results for the half year to 30 June 2009 will be announced on 30 July 2009.
For further information:
Telephone No. +44 (0) 175 327 6011
Investec Investment Banking:
Telephone No. +44 (0) 207 597 5970
Hogarth Partnership Ltd:
Telephone No. +44 (0) 207 645 3988
26 June 2009
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