Greencore to delist from ISEQ with Uniq takeover

ONE-IN-THREE prepared sandwiches sold in Britain will come from Irish food company Greencore, following its takeover of British firm Uniq.

As part of the deal, Greencore is to delist from the Irish Stock Exchange (ISEQ) sometime next year, but it said it hopes to return again at some stage.

Shareholders voted in favour of the firm’s acquisition of Uniq yesterday at an EGM in Dublin, a move that will increase Greencore’s share of the British sandwich market from 25% to 31%.

It also means that Greencore will now supply 65% of sandwiches to Marks and Spencer in Britain and will be a top five supplier to the supermarket.

Greencore chief executive, Patrick Coveney this is a “very good deal for Greencore shareholders”.

It will be around six to eight weeks before the transaction completes as they must get clearance from the British competition authority.

On the delisting from the ISEQ Mr Coveney said Greencore’s agenda is not to delist from the ISEQ but what they are looking to do is secure index inclusion in Britain as that will “increase the demand for the stock and liquidity”.

“Unfortunately, a consequence from securing that inclusion is that we’re required to have sole listing at least for a while in London.

“It would be our hope that once that has settled down that we would look at a secondary listing in Ireland in time which will in particular help retail shareholders in Ireland going forward and be reflective of the history and heritage of the business,” he said.

Greencore has agreed terms to buy Uniq in a deal worth 96p per share or £113m (€125m). The deal, according to the company will provide synergies of around €10m. It comes months after Greencore lost out on a bid for the British company, Northern Foods.

Uniq had been up for sale since March and had been crippled by a massive pension deficit. Greencore said that it will not be taking on any pension liabilities following the acquisition.

Mr Coveney would not be drawn on the company’s plan’s for Uniq’s troubled desserts operation only saying that their desire in drawing the businesses together would be too operate a bigger and better business.

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