Exclusive: Nestle reviewing possible sale of frozen food unit Davigel -sources

Mon Feb 3, 2014 12:34pm EST
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By Sophie Sassard and Anjuli Davies

LONDON (Reuters) - Nestle NESN.VX is exploring a possible sale of frozen foods business Davigel for about 300 million euros ($400 million), three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Monday, as part of a drive to trim its sprawling portfolio.

The world's largest food company, which said on Monday it sold its PowerBar business, is close to appointing a bank to advise on the possible sale, the sources said.

Nestle declined to comment.

Potential buyers were likely to include food service providers such as Brake Brothers, Booker Group and Sodexho (EXHO.PA: Quote) as well as private equity firms, the sources said. Bain & Co and Clayton, Dubilier & Rice are obvious choices, one said, since both have invested in food service in the past.

Davigel's 2012 earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization were between 30 million and 35 million euros and the business could sell for a mid- to high-single-digit multiple of that, two bankers said.

Davigel - which supplies frozen and chilled meals and ice cream to restaurants and hospitals - was part of the Buitoni frozen food business Nestle bought in 1989.

Nestle has not yet officially mandated a bank to sell Davigel but has worked closely with Credit Suisse CSGN.VX in the past and is expected to appoint that bank for this deal.

Credit Suisse declined to comment.   Continued...

The logo of Nestle is seen on the company building in Mexico City, January 24, 2014. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido