RPT-Bright Food agrees deal for Australia's Manassen

Date:2011-08-18     Source:dongyuyudongyuyu  Text Size:

BEIJING Aug 17 (Reuters) - Bright Food Group has agreed to buy a 75 percent stake in Australian branded food business Manassen Foods, the companies said on Wednesday, a deal marking the Chinese company's biggest overseas expansion.

A statement issued by the companies and Manassen's private equity owner did not give a value, but sources told Reuters on Sunday a deal would give Australia's leading independent grocery importer an enterprise value (EV) of more than A$500 million ($525 million).

State-owned Bright Food, which seeks to boost its profile and cater to a rapidly growing domestic market through overseas acquisitions, has suffered a string of failed bids that include CSR's sugar business and French yoghurt maker Yoplait.

The purchase of Manassen shares, subject to regulatory approval, would give Bright Food access to the Australian market and help it build marketing expertise overseas.

Manassen lists Albatros biscuits, Walkers shortbread and Margaret River Dairy among its brands.

Australian buyout fund CHAMP acquired Manassen Foods in 2006. CHAMP, which ran a dual-track IPO and sale process, decided to sell the business to Bright Food because IPO markets in Australia have been extremely tough.

Bright Food has four subsidiaries listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange: Shanghai Jinfeng Wine Co , Shanghai Haibo Co , Shanghai Maling Aquarius Co and Bright Dairy & Food Co .

($1 = 0.953 Australian Dollars)

(Editing by David Hulmes) (Reporting by Don Durfee)


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