Spain approves Findus deal

THE Findus Group, owners of Young’s Seafood, has secured approval from the Spanish Competition Authorities (la Comisión Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia) for the acquisition, without conditions, of La Cocinera frozen ready to eat meals business from Nestlé Spain.
The acquisition will include the frozen ready meal business based at the Valladolid factory and La Cocinera brand in Spain, which has a retail turnover of some 65 million euros.
And it will double the retail scale of Findus Group’s operations in Spain. Nestlé and Findus will now move forward to close the deal as soon as possible.
Jordi Fábregas, managing director of Findus Spain, said: ‘We are pleased to be bringing La Cocinera and its employees into the Findus Spain family.
‘This is a great opportunity to achieve a leadership position in ready meals in Spain and we look forward to moving forward with this together.’
James Hill, chief executive of Findus Group, said: ‘This is an important acquisition for Findus Group, which will more than double our retail sales in Spain, helping to achieve critical scale in this market and further our overall business strategy.
‘La Cocinera is a well regarded brand in Spain, with a 50-year heritage, a reputation for supplying high quality food, and clear market leadership in frozen ready meals.
‘Findus already has a market leadership position in frozen vegetables in Spain and this acquisition will increase our presence in the growing Spanish frozen ready meal market.
‘We expect to achieve significant synergies from integrating this business unit with our existing operations.’
The factory, which has 170 employees, produces a range of frozen ready meals which are sold under the La Cocinera brand (salmon, seafood pie and cannelloni among others).
The intention of Findus Group is to continue to develop the La Cocinera brand, which is already deeply rooted in the market.
As part of the deal, Findus Spain will gain control of the state-of-the-art, frozen meal production facility in Valladolid. The acquisition will be financed from existing Findus Group cash-flow.
Findus Group is one of Europe’s leading seafood and frozen food businesses with a turnover in excess of 1.4 billion euros.
The additional turnover that this acquisition will add represents less than five per cent of the current turnover of the Findus Group internationally.
The acquisition follows Findus Group’s positive performance in 2014, achieving operating cash flow of £67 million and EBITDA of £91 million for the year, up four per cent on the previous year, on a constant currency basis.
Last year was Findus Group’s second year of positive constant currency growth and the group continues to be optimistic for the financial year ending 2015.