Oaktree whips up £182m for UK ice cream bid

The US-based private equity firm has had a £182.2m offer for UK ice cream maker Richmond Foods accepted by the company’s board of directors.

Los Angeles-based Oaktree Capital Management has had a 750 pence per share offer for Richmond Foods accepted by the UK ice cream manufacturer’s board of directors. Oaktree plans to merge the business with portfolio company Roncadin, the Italian gelato business.
The offer, which was made through acquisition vehicle Ruby Acquisitions, values Richmond Foods at £182.2 million (€266 million; $339 million). 

Kramer: will merge Richmond Foods with Italy’s Roncadin

Richmond Foods said the offer represents a premium of 23.7 percent to the company’s closing price of 606.5 pence per share on 4 April 2006, the last business day prior to the commencement of the offer period; and 34.1 percent to the average closing price of 559.3 pence per share for the six months prior to the offer period.
The offer requires the approval of 75 percent of shareholders. According to a regulatory release, the offer has so far received acceptances from 61.8 percent.
Oaktree was advised by Deutsche Bank on the transaction, while Investec advised Richmond Foods.
Oaktree will now merge Richmond Foods with the gelato division of Italy-based Roncadin, which the firm acquired for approximately €152.5 million last November.
“Our goal is for Richmond to remain focused on its core geographical market but, once combined with Roncadin, to leverage both companies’ strong market positions and reputation for high-quality products to enable us to serve customers on a pan-European basis,” said Caleb Kramer, managing director of Oaktree, in a release.
The transaction, which will see Oaktree owning 82.4 percent of Richmond Foods, comprises €123.5 million in equity and €325 million of debt facilities provided by Deutsche Bank, part of which will also be used to refinance Richmond Foods and Roncadin’s existing debt. A further €50 million of senior revolving credit will also be made available by Deutsche Bank for working capital funding requirements.
Richmond is the UK’s largest ice cream manufacturer by volume with 28 production lines and manufacturing facilities in Wigan, Leeming Bar and Leeds. The company, which employs 850 people, reported turnover for the 53 weeks ended 2 October 2005 of £140.7 million.