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Catch of the day as Birds Eye parent firm Iglo is bought for €2.6bn

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The European frozen food firm sells products in 12 countries across the continent, although the UK, Italy, Germany and Austria are the dominant markets and account for 85 per cent of all sales.

Although particularly well known for Birds Eye fish fingers, its product base includes more than 1,000 food items varying across meat, fish and vegetables, and achieved revenue of €1.5bn for the full year in 2014.

The former Unilever business was bought by private equity firm Permira in 2006 for €1.7bn and, despite a €2.5bn offer from Blackstone Group and BC Partners in 2012, Nomad will now take over ownership of Iglo.

“We are very proud to have helped Iglo Group become the undisputed European leader in branded frozen foods over the past eight years,” said Cheryl Potter, head of Permira’s global consumer team.

“With the backing of the Permira funds, the company was able to invest heavily in product innovation and brand marketing. Our funds will continue to support Iglo Group as minority investors and we wish the company well as it embarks on the next phase of its exciting journey with Nomad.”

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Nomad was created by Noam Gottesman, founder of investment firm Toms Capital, and Martin Franklin, founder of consumer products Jarden Corporation – both of whom boast a history of strategic takeovers.

As part of the deal, existing Iglo Group CEO Elio Leoni Sceti has resigned but will stay on until June 2015 in the current role. His involvement will continue in the form of a non-executive director when the deal is finalised, which will see Iglo rebranded as Nomad Foods.

Iglo currently has 2,800 staff members across Europe, spread throughout four manufacturing pants and five distribution centres. Nomad is hoping to continue expanding the company and will push to make additional acquisitions to build existing and new categories.

Gottesman, said: “What people eat and how and when they eat are constantly evolving, making food one of the most resilient yet dynamic categories in the consumer sector. Iglo Group’s strong brands are clear market leaders in frozen food, and the Company’s innovative and customer-centric approach will continue to drive organic growth and superior returns within the industry.

“The group’s scale, cash-generative profile, and experienced management team make it an ideal foundation for us to build up a world-class, global consumer foods company through a prudent M&A strategy.”

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