Kraft denies Brazilian acquisition

By Charlotte Eyre

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Food giant kraft Kraft foods Kraft

Global food giant Kraft yesterday denied making a bid for Brazilian
poultry company Perdigao, despite a flurry of merger and
acquisition activity over the last year.

In a statement, the Kraft said that it was an unusual step for the company to respond to rumours, "but since these reports come at the same time as the announcement that Kraft intends to access the debt capital markets, we can confirm that we are not in talks to buy Brazilian food maker Perdigao." The story first started circulating three days ago, after local Brazilian newspaper Valor Economico said that the two companies were holding "amicable" talks. According to the paper, Perdigao's controlling shareholders, which include several Brazilian state-run pension funds, were particularly keen to strike a deal with Kraft. Perdigao is currently one of the largest food companies in Latin America, with estimated gross revenues of 7.2 billion Reals (€2.75bn). Its core business is refrigerated and frozen products, with production focused on poultry and hog slaughter, the processing of poultry and hog derivatives. While Kraft does sell some meat products or products containing meat, such as Oscar MayerBacon and DiGiorno pizzas with pepperoni, the company is better known for ready meals, processed foods and bakery and snack products. This year, however, the company has both acquired new businesses and offloaded underperforming divisions, after activist investor Nelson Peltz bought a 3 per cent stake in the company. Peltz, who heads Trian, a US-based hedge fund, is renowned in finance as an advocate for change, and has already made changes at Heinz, where he now sits on the board, and at confectionery company Cadbury. Last month, Kraft announced it will demerge Post Cereal brand to Ralcorp Holdings for $2.6bn of stock and cash,​ either as a spin-off or split-off transaction. In the deal shareholders will receive $1.6bn worth of stock in Ralcorp, giving them a 54 per cent holding in Ralcorp, a private label and frozen bakery company, once the deal is completed next year. The company last week said it has also finalised the much talked about acquisition of Danone's bakery division, after the move was approved by the European Commission in November. As well as brands such as Tuc and Lu, the company also has access to emerging markets all over the world. "Our business will nearly double in size in the fast-growingChinamarket,"​ international manager Sanjay Khosla said at the time. "We will gain a foothold in bothIndonesiaandMalaysiafor faster expansion, and inRussia, our distribution strength, coupled with Danone's brands, will give us an even stronger presence."

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