Hillsdown in 50m pounds European buy

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The Independent Online
HILLSDOWN HOLDINGS, the food processing company, has made its biggest acquisition since its raised pounds 281m in a rights issue last October, writes Robert Cole.

It is buying three European chilled-food businesses from Beledia of the Netherlands for pounds 50m. The purchase continues its policy - outlined at the time of the rights, which was less than 50 per cent subscribed - to make 'add-on' and 'fill-in' acquisitions.

Net assets of the companies are pounds 29m and the most recent combined operating profits were pounds 4.4m.

After the deal Hillsdown will have spent about pounds 200m on acquisitions and restructuring since the cash call, but it has also sold some businesses.

Gearing is thought to be about 30 per cent.

The three companies - Nadler of Germany, Johma of the Netherlands and Belgium and K Salat of Denmark - specialise in prepared salads, fish and sauces. Hillsdown already owns the UK chilled-food operations Pinneys, Smedley's and Telfers.

The shares rose 2p to 106p.