Fray Bentos owner prepares for a sale

Mon, 01 Aug 2011 | BUSINESS SALE

An information memorandum is due to be sent out to potential interested parties for canned foods business Fray Bentos. Seafood giant Princes acquired the brand as part of its £182 million purchase of Premier Foods’ canning division only last month.

The decision to sell came after the Office of Fair Trading voiced concerns over Princes’ high concentration of ownership in the canned foods market. It is hoped that the sale will generate £30 million.

The business had been put on the block in November last year as its previous owners Premier Foods looked to repay some of its debts.

The canned pie maker has had various owners over the years. Bought by US food giant Campbell’s in 1993, Fray Bentos was then sold to Premier, along with Campbell’s other UK assets, in 2006. Potential buyers are now tipped to include JBS and Marfrig, Brazilian meat packers, and Ireland’s AIBP.

Established in 1899 to import meats into the UK, Fray Bentos is famous for its canned steak and kidney pies, corned beef and puddings, which were frequently to be found on the dinner tables of British homes in the post-war era.

Now considered to be an acquired taste, Fray Bento’s sales have failed to climb above £30 million over the past decade. It is still a firm favourite for many, however, and even has a cult following, one fan being celebrity chef Simon Hopkinson.

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