Birds Eye owner appeals to its banks Published: 16 December, 2013
BIRDS Eye, Britain’s second largest fish producer, has had the terms of its loans eased after appeal and its private equity backer Permira took £250-million out of the company.
The frozen food giant which operates in Britain and Europe under the parent company Iglo, has already announced a growth strategy with a plan to double sales within the next seven years. Iglo’s new chief executive, Elio Leoni Sceti, took over at the top in May this year following the resignation of long standing CEO Martin Glenn. Just before that the business underwent a major recapitalisation which saw Permira take 300 million euros out as a one off payment.Permira bought Birds Eye from Unilever for £1.1-billion in 2006. It was put up for sale but was later withdrawn after it failed to make the asking price of around £2.8-billion.Birds Eye said yesterday, following revelations in the Sunday Times, that it was considered sensible to seek an amendment to one covenant to give Mr Sceti the flexibility to invest in the companys new strategy. Sources stressed the firm was not in any danger of a covenant breach but sought to change the terms of a covenant test, which was hinged on a certain debt to Ebitda ratio.The company is famous in Britain for its fish fingers which it sells by the million, a,long with other fish products. But it produces a wide range of frozen foods including poultry based, along with frozen vegetables. According to the last figures birds Eye had sales of £1.6 billion, but made a pre-tax loss of 34.6m, down from 76m the year beforeIronically, Last year Findus, which owns Young’s Seafood, underwent major recapitalisation, to put the business back on even keel.
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