Fortenova Group d.d. and Nomad Foods Limited have signed a Sale and Purchase Agreement (SPA) for the Frozen Food Business Group (FFBG) consisting of Ledo plus d.o.o., Ledo Čitluk d.o.o. and Frikom d.o.o. alongside several smaller affiliated companies.
The value of the transaction is EUR 615 million, on a debt-free, cash-free basis, with completion planned for Q3 2021. Upon completion, Nomad Foods will become the owner of FFBG which comprises a leading European frozen food portfolio of iconic local brands with strong consumer awareness in Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovina and several other countries in South East Europe (SEE). With more than half a century of tradition, the FFBG is the largest producer and distributors of ice cream and frozen foods in its respective markets.
“This is a transformational transaction for Fortenova Group with all the funds to be used to deleverage the Group and deliver a Fortenova Group that is, after many years, financially strong and able to fully invest in all its businesses”, said James Pearson, Fortenova Group’s Chief Financial Officer.
“Our Frozen Food Business Group is the market leader in the region where we operate, and I am glad that we have achieved our main goal in its sales process. The goal was, over and above maximizing value, to conclude this transaction with a strategic partner who will make the maximum contribution to further the development of FFBG and recognize the full value and potential of this business and its people”, said Fabris Peruško, Fortenova Group’s Chief Executive Officer and member of the Board of Directors. “With completion of this transaction we will fulfil a key prerequisite for the capital structure optimization that will enable strong investment in our businesses and drive their future growth. I am very thankful to all people in the Frozen Food Group and in the Fortenova Group who have worked very hard over the past six months to make this happen. Knowing that our Frozen Food is going to be in very good hands, we are looking forward to cooperating with Nomad Foods as an important future business partner in this region”, concluded Peruško.
Completion of the transaction is subject to regulatory approvals in the applicable markets as well as Fortenova Group’s shareholders’ approval. Fortenova Group’s Board of Directors, consisting also from representatives of majority shareholders, has unanimously supported signing of the SPA with Nomad Foods.
Fortenova Group was advised on this transaction by Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, Bogdanović, Dolički & Partners Law Firm, Citigroup Global Markets Europe AG, Isailović & Partners Law Firm, KPMG Croatia, Marić & Co Law Firm and VTB Bank (Europe) SE.
After completing due diligence process for the sale of the companies Ledo plus d.o.o., Ledo d.o.o. Čitluk and Frikom d.o.o., forming together with several smaller affiliated companies the Frozen Food Business Group, Fortenova Group d.d. (www.fortenova.hr) have decided to move forward to the next phase by entering into exclusive negotiations with Nomad Foods (www.nomadfoods.com).
“Nomad Foods is a company with outstanding investment and operational track record that has a clear focus on frozen foods segment in Europe. There is of course still a lot of work to do and a number of conditions that need to be fulfilled before coming to a final agreement, but we fully expect to be able to do this”, said James Pearson, Fortenova Group’s Chief Financial Officer.
“Multi-party due diligence process for the Frozen Food Business Group has been brought to a successful completion by our acceptance to continue negotiations exclusively with Nomad Foods, who have so far proved to be an extremely strong potential partner for our Frozen Food Business Group. Fortenova Group’s ultimate goal, over and above maximizing value, remains to be the conclusion of a transaction with a strategic partner who will make the maximum contribution to the further development of the Frozen Food Business Group and recognize the full value and potential of this business and its people”, said Fabris Peruško, Fortenova Group’s Chief Executive Officer and member of the Board of Directors. “This transaction is part of the process of the capital structure optimization that will enable the further development of the Fortenova Group. I expect the next phase of the Frozen Food Business Group sale process to be completed by the end of Q1 this year through the signing of a Sale and Purchase Agreement. If so, the transaction could be completed post receipt of regulatory approvals, as early as Summer 2021. We will continue to keep our people and the market informed of further developments in a timely manner”, concluded Peruško.
Fortenova Group has received a number of non-binding offers for the acquisition of the companies Ledo plus, Ledo Čitluk and Frikom, forming together with several smaller affiliated companies the Frozen Food Business Group, which operates within Fortenova Group’s Food Division.
“Over the last few years, and again in recent weeks, there has been occasional comment and discussion in regards to offers being made for various Fortenova Group’s assets. Whilst this interest reflects the strength of our business, brands and management it obviously creates uncertainty and concern for our employees. We will therefore aim to quickly review the offers received and decide whether to move forward with one or more of them. Our aim is for this decision to be taken by mid-October, which will then be communicated first to our employees and then announced to the public. Our ultimate goal, subject to achieving a satisfactory price, is to select a strategic partner who will make the maximum contribution to the further development of the Frozen Food Business Group and completion of the process depends on finding such partner”, said Fabris Peruško, Fortenova Group’s Chief Executive Officer and member of the Board of Directors.
“With our clear strategy to financially strengthen the company in mind, a sale of the Frozen Food Business Group, if concluded, would result in a reduction of debt that would transform the financial position of the overall Fortenova Group. This would then allow full investment in the remaining businesses to drive their future growth. The Executive Directors and the Board will review the offers received and will quickly take a decision on how to move forward”, said James Pearson, Fortenova Group’s Chief Financial Officer.
“To proactively achieve our targeted capital structure via deleveraging the company, we are ready to dispose of only one segment of the core business which potentially with these offers would be the Frozen Food Business Group. Beyond this, the divestment of our non-core operations in order to focus on the core business will be continued”, concluded Fabris Peruško, Fortenova Group’s Chief Executive Officer and member of the Board of Directors.