Booker division in buyout

Booker yesterday sold its prepared foods division for pounds 57m in cash to Prize Foods Group, a buyout team led by David Sims and Michael Russell. The two men were respectively chief executive and finance director of Nurdin & Peacock, the cash and carry business that Booker took over last year.

The buy-out team is backed by 3i, which is providing pounds 29m of equity, and Robert Fleming, the merchant bank, which is providing debt and working capital. The consideration includes pounds 48.1m in cash, pounds 6.9m in debt and pounds 2m in tax liabilities.

The five businesses in the package are WA Turner of Tunbridge Wells, which makes own-label pies and sausages for supermarkets; Buckingham Foods, which makes own-label sandwiches in Milton Keynes and Tamworth for retailers; Headland Foods, which makes own-label ready meals for retailers; TMI foods of Northampton, which supplies cooked bacon to food manufacturers; and Salaisons le Vexin in France. They had a combined turnover of pounds 141.7m in 1996, and made an operating profit of pounds 6.3m.