Noon sale for Bridgepoint

WT Foods Group, the UK foods business owned by Bridgepoint, has sold Noon Products, a UK producer of ethnic, chilled ready meals, to the Kerry Group for £124m.

Return details have not been disclosed, but it has been reported that the money made on the sale of Noon has more than covered the cost of the WT Foods buyout.

Sir Gulam Noon founded Noon Products in 1989 and sold it to WT in 1999, which was subsequently acquired by Bridgepoint in 2001 in a £102m buyout and stock exchange delisting. Sir Gulam will stay with the company following its acquisition by Kerry Group.

In the year to end March 2005, Noon Products had gross sales of £105.5m. Bridgepoint says the chilled convenience foods category in the UK is worth £6bn, £500m of which is taken up by ethnic chilled ready meals.

Following the sale of Noon, the WT Foods business will comprise three brands: Enco, a leading supplier of Afro-Caribbean foods and drinks, Chadha, a specialist supplier of Oriental products to all sectors of the grocery trade, and Funnybones, an American, Mexican, Cajun, Indian and Oriental food specialist for the foodservice market.