Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search


PEP sells Griffin's to Universal Robina for $700M

PEP sells Griffin's to Universal Robina for $700M after capital return, refinancing in 2013

By Paul McBeth

July 21 (BusinessDesk) - Pacific Equity Partners has sold Griffin's Foods to Universal Robina Corp for $700 million after the Australian private equity firm pulled out capital from its investment and saddled the New Zealand biscuit maker with debt last year.

The sale comes after accounts for NZ Snack Food Holdings show the Griffin's holding company made a capital return of $192 million in a share repurchase in the same year PEP refinanced the maker of Gingernuts, Mellow Puffs and Huntley & Palmers crackers and Eta brand snacks.

The group had interest bearing debt of $442.4 million as at Dec. 31, up from $234.6 million a year earlier, according to financial statements lodged with the Companies Office. The $274.5 million of bank debt matures in January 2016, while $167.9 million of mezzanine notes mature in January 2019.

NZ Snack Foods reported a 75 percent slump in profit to $5.1 million in calendar 2013, as its finance costs climbed by more than half to $23.8 million. Revenue fell 4.3 percent to $280.8 million. Gross margins were largely unchanged at 53 percent. Operational cash inflow more than doubled to $34 million, and the group held cash of $34.8 million as at Dec. 31.

The deal is subject to Overseas Investment Office approval, and ends PEP's eight-year ownership of the snack foods maker. Chief operating officer Alison Taylor will take over as chief executive once the sale if completed.

"We believe Griffin's is a natural strategic fit to our existing snack foods portfolio given its strong brand heritage in New Zealand - a country trusted worldwide in having high credibility when it comes to food quality, safety and authenticity," URC chief executive Lance Gokongwei said in a statement.

URC is a Philippines-based food and beverage company

PEP tried to sell Griffin's in 2011 after struggling to find a buyer. It was reportedly looking for a price in the range of seven to nine times earnings, which were about $108 million at the time.

The Australian private equity firm bought Griffin's for $292.4 million in 2006 from French food group Danone at an enterprise value of $385 million, and later acquired the Nice & Natural wrapped snacks business for $55 million.

PEP invested $180 million into Griffin's operations, creating two manufacturing centres in Auckland and buying the Nice & Natural business, it said.

Credit Suisse and First NZ Captial were exclusive M&A advisers to Griffin's.


© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Oceans: NOAA Declares Third Ever Global Coral Bleaching Event

As record ocean temperatures cause widespread coral bleaching across Hawaii, NOAA scientists confirm the same stressful conditions are expanding to the Caribbean and may last into the new year, prompting the declaration of the third global coral bleaching event ever on record. More>>

Scoop Business: A Decade Of Government Pre-Seed Investment

More publicly-funded science is being commercialised after a decade of government ‘pre-see’d investment, according to an independent review. More>>


Solid Energy: Plan To Shut Unprofitable Huntly East Mine

Solid Energy, the state-owned coal miner in voluntary administration, plans to shut down its unprofitable Huntly East mine and lay off 65 staff after deciding the site stands "no chance whatsoever" of finding a buyer. More>>


E Tū: Merger Creates NZ's Biggest Private Sector Union

E tū has been created by the merger of the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union and Service and Food Workers’ Union. It represents more than 50,000 working New Zealanders in industries as diverse as aviation, construction, journalism, food manufacturing, mining and cleaning. More>>


Internet: NZ Govt Lifts Target Speeds For Rural Broadband

The government has lifted its expectations on faster broadband speeds for rural New Zealand as it targets increased spending on research and development in the country's information and communications technology sector, which it sees as a key driver for export growth. More>>


Banks: Westpac Keeps Core Government Transactions Contract

The local arm of Westpac Banking Corp has kept its contract with the New Zealand government to provide core transactions, but will have to share peripheral services with its rivals. More>>


Science Investment Plan: Universities Welcome Statement

Universities New Zealand has welcomed the National Statement of Science Investment released by the Government today... this is a critical document as it sets out the Government’s ten-year strategic direction that will guide future investment in New Zealand’s science system. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news