Bright Food Group denies Weetabix bid

Updated: 2012-05-02 15:27

By He Wei (

  Comments() Print Mail Large Medium  Small 分享按钮 0

Bright Food Group Co Ltd, a leading Chinese food producer, denied media reports saying it plans to acquire British cereals maker Weetabix Ltd.

"We are working on some acquisition projects in our key business sectors but I have no knowledge about this case," Pan Jianjun, a Shanghai-based spokesman for Bright Food, said over the phone on Wednesday.

Bright Food has been in negotiations for several weeks with private equity firm Lion Capital, owner of Weetabix, about a possible purchase that would value the maker of Ready brek and Alpen cereals at around 1 billion pounds ($1.61 billion), the Telegraph newspaper reported on April 23.

The Shanghai-based maker of dairy, sugar and wine products has been actively seeking overseas food acquisitions over the past two years.

It has completed two overseas acquisitions so far, buying a controlling stake in New Zealand-based Synlait Milk Ltd for $58 million in 2010 and agreeing last year to spend $382 million for a 75 percent stake in Manassen Foods Australia Pty Ltd.

Bright Food chairman Wang Zongnan said in February that he expects to make one to two overseas acquisitions this year in the sugar, dairy, wine and casual food industries.

According to Ge Junjie, the company's vice-president, Bright Food will wrap up an acquisition deal with a French wine maker in two months, as the company seeks to boost overseas sales to as much as 30 percent of its total in five years.

"It is a long-term trend for Chinese food companies to make forays overseas," he said in April.

Weetabix, founded in 1932, currently produces 36 types of breakfast cereals and bars and exports to more than 80 countries, its website shows. In 2004, a unit of Lion Capital acquired all of the issued share capital of Weetabix.