ABN eats up Perkins

ABN AMRO Capital has led a management buyout that will see Perkins Foods, a leading pan-European private label manufacturer of chilled and frozen convenience foods, return to the status of private company. Lowclose, via investment bank Lehman Brothers, made a recommended cash offer for Perkins Foods valuing the business at GBP184.5 million. Lowclose is a vehicle backed by ABN AMRO Capital, PRICOA, and the executive directors and certain senior managers of Perkins Foods.

ABN AMRO Capital committed GBP85 million of equity to the deal, PRICOA Capital committed GBP40 million of mezzanine finance, and The Royal Bank of Scotland underwrote the senior debt facilities of GBP165 million. Ashurst Morris Crisp acted for Perkins Foods during this transaction.

The offer, valued at GBP184.5 million, was for 121 pence per ordinary share plus a 3 pence dividend and 121 pence per preference share plus a 4 pence dividend. When this offer is combined with debt refinancing the total value of the business increases to GBP230 million. This figure increases further to GBP290 million with the addition of working capital and acquisition facilities plus costs.

Ian Taylor, chief executive of ABN AMRO Capital, said: “This deal completes a fantastic year for our recently-formed leveraged buyout team, following the GBP172 million purchase of Smith & Nephew’s feminine hygiene and toiletries business in June. We have a strong interest in the consumer products sector and see a number of opportunities to grow Perkins Foods by acquiring further brands or businesses.” ABN AMRO Capital has the capacity to underwrite up to GBP200 million of equity investment for buyouts, expansion capital and public to private deals.

The Perkins Foods deal, which took place in December 2000, was ABN AMRO Capital’s second foray in the public to private arena last year. It had previously undertaken a 500 million public to private of the French company De Dietrich, which is a central heating, railway and chemical process equipment business.