Domestos detergent to Dove soap consumer goods giant Unilever is ready to fire the starting gun on the sale of its Italian frozen food arm, it was reported today.
The Findus Italy business has attracted early interest from private equity groups Permira and Lion Capital, the owners of Birds Eye Iglo and Findus Group respectively, the Financial Times reported.
The Italian business is the only part of Unilever’s European frozen food operations it kept when it sold Birds Eye Iglo – renowned for its fish fingers - to Permira in 2006.
Unilever opted not to sell the business four years ago because of its integration with its Italian ice cream arm, which makes Cornetto and Viennetta, but the decision has been reversed by chief executive Paul Polman the FT says.
Both Permira and Lion – which bought Findus Group in 2008 – are said to have appointed advisers ahead of sale information which is due to be circulated in the next two weeks.
The business, which holds the rights to the Findus name in Italy and makes ready-meal carbonara and bolognese dishes, could fetch up to £700m (€792.2m), the report says.
Unilever was unavailable for comment.