Natraceutical turns to shareholders in Obipekin and Overseal deal

Related tags Private equity Venture capital Mergers and acquisitions

Spanish biotech firm Natraceutical will seek approval from
shareholders for a capital extension of €40 million to help finance
the acquisition of UK food ingredients business Braes Group.

Formed in 1999, Braes is composed of different natural ingredients businesses, including Swiss extracts firm Obipektin and colours and yeast company Overseal.

But last month the owner of Braes, UK private equity firm 3i, announced an €80 million deal to shed the business to fast growing Natraceutical

At the time, 3i stressed the transaction had yet to be completed with the Spanish firm, and was still dependent on Natraceutical completing a process of due diligence and raising the necessary finance.

And Natraceutical said the operation will be financed with borrowings, without taking on board any debt with the acquisition.

In a statement last week the Valencia-based company said it will ask for shareholder approval at the firm's annual general meeting later this month.

The capital extension has a nominal value of €10 million, with the remaining €30 million corresponding to the issue premium.

Announcing the deal last month, Natraceutical said the move represents "the beginning of our project for growth through acquisitions of complementary firms in terms of products, technology, R&D, customers and markets."

In 2001, the Braes group said it had the objective to achieve global sales of €290-€430 million in five years. But at €80 million, the Natraceutical deal would suggest the figures have fallen short.

3i pulls out of the venture despite growing evidence that suggests private equity is on the hunt for food and drink firms.

In fact, according to a report from 3i, private equity and venture capital invested in Europe's food and drink companies nearly doubled from €2.7 billion in 2001 to €4.5 billion in 2002.

Stocks in the industry have outperformed other industries in the past two years to 2003, but the industry is safe rather than exciting, claims the report.

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