© Refresco/Richard Sinon
Refresco has received a second unsolicited offer from PAI Partners, the private equity group behind R&R Ice Cream, with a total value of €1.6 billion.
PAI Partners has offered to acquire all 81.2 million issued shares in the company for €19.75 per share.
It had a previous €1.4 billion offer for the European bottler rejected back in April.
The executive board and supervisory board are “carefully reviewing the proposal,” Refresco said, “taking into account the interests of all Refresco’s stakeholders.”
The Rotterdam-headquartered business is in a different position now to when PAI Partners originally bid: volume was more than 600 million litres higher in the last quarter than the fourth quarter of 2016, shortly before the first offer, while revenue passed the €2 billion mark.
In the intervening months, Refresco announced the acquisition of Cott Corporation’s bottling business and, in the process, significantly expanded its presence in North America earlier in the year.
That deal is expected to be completed by the end of the year. PAI Partners’ latest offer includes Cott’s bottling activities.
Analysis: Who are bidders PAI Partners?
Based in Paris, the private equity group claims to have assets under its management worth €7.1 billion and portfolio sales of €14 billion from around 20 European companies with global reach. It’s a former investor in Yoplait, United Biscuits and Chr. Hansen, while its current investments in the food and beverage industry include the ice cream manufacturer R&R. PAI Partners acquired the ice cream company in 2013 for €929 million with a view to turning R&R into one of the world’s leading ice cream companies.
As a result, the group has an interest in Froneri, the third largest ice cream player in the world and the result of a joint venture between R&R and Nestlé.
Until last year, it also held almost all the shares in Swissport, the largest ground and cargo handling company at airports around the world, before selling its stake to a Chinese group for $2.8 billion.
The response to the latest bid has been more measured from Refresco: in April, when PAI Partners first made an approach, the offer was rejected outright with Refresco saying the proposed terms ‘did not merit any further investigation’.
With a second bid now under discussion, PAI’s fortunes are looking stronger – whether that means a successful bid this time, or in the future.
But Refresco may still hold out for more – the valuation this time is actually a lower multiple of Refresco’s most recently announced quarterly turnover than in April.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2018
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