Bernard Matthews announced on 6 July that it had sold turkey arm Oldenburg to pork and poultry processor Sprehe Group in order to reduce the company’s debt. The business has debt of up to £129m, according to the Financial Times.
Bernard Matthews owns a subsidiary in Hungary but there are no plans to spin-off this part of the business according to company spokesman who said it was “business as usual”.
German subsidiary Bernard Matthews Oldenburg (BMO) has sales of up to €45m per year. Sprehe Group (known in Germany as Sprehe Gruppe) was established in 1987 and processes poultry, pork and turkey across multiple sites in Germany.
A company spokesman for Bernard Matthews said it “made strategic sense” to sell BMO so that a new owner could pump money into the business and “exploit fully” the brand and its operations.
“The proceeds from the sale will reduce group debt by €14 million. We are very pleased that Sprehe Group have bought the business and are sure the business and all of its people will prosper in this new ownership.”
Alan Jamieson, chairman of Bernard Matthews, said that capital generated from the BMO sale would be useful for the UK business as it seeks to “rebuild profitability”.
The struggling Bernard Matthews business has been the centre of intense media speculation recently, after it was revealed that PwC (Pricewaterhouse Coopers) had been appointed to find a buyer for it. Sales fell by almost 10% last year from £307m to £277m, according to trade figures posted in January.
Moy Park and 2 Sisters Food Group have been linked to a potential takeover, although both declined to comment on the speculation when contacted by our sister publication Meat Trades Journal.