Uniq unloads French business
Uniq agreed to sell its French business, Marie, to France's Groupe LDC for EUR 73 million (USD 102 million), as it refocuses on its core U.K. operations, the British company announced on Friday.
Uniq produces refrigerated and frozen convenience foods, including seafood, and lists Marks & Spencer among its customers.
LDC, a poultry and delicatessen producer, will pay EUR 60 million (USD 84.5 million) in cash and take on Marie's debts of about EUR 13 million (USD 18.3 million). Marie, which operates six manufacturing facilities in France, posted a profit of EUR 3.4 million (USD 4.8 million) in 2008 and has net assets of EUR 58 million (USD 81.8 million) and gross assets of EUR 167 million (USD 235 million).
Uniq is unloading its European business to refocus on its U.K. operations. In March, the company sold Pinneys of Scotland, which produces fresh and smoked salmon, as well as other seafood products, to Foodvest for GBR 1 million (USD 1.4 million, EUR 1.1 million).
"The resultant reduction of our debt would strengthen our balance sheet and would be a significant step toward focusing Uniq on the U.K. and enabling us to concentrate our resources on building a strong platform for the future," said Geoff Eaton, Uniq's CEO.
Uniq recorded a loss of GBP 8.4 million (USD 13.8 million, EUR 9.8 million) on sales of GBP 797.2 million (USD 1.31 billion, EUR 932.2 million) in 2008, compared to a loss of GBP 3.6 million (USD 5.9 million, EUR 4.2 million) on sales of GBP 736.1 million (USD 1.2 billion, EUR 861.5 million) in 2007.
The Marie deal is subject to approval by the French Works Council.
Also on Friday, Uniq announced the resignation of Ross Warburton as chairman, effectively immediately. John Warren, who joined the board as a non-executive director in March 2007 and was appointed senior non-executive director in May 2007, will serve as interim chairman from until a permanent successor is found.