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3663 owner says food service businesses not for sale

19 August 2011 by
3663 owner says food service businesses not for sale

Bidvest, owner of 3663, has indicated that its food service interests are not for sale.

The South African-based company said in a statement that "unsolicited proposals" for its food service businesses had been turned down by the board.

"Bidvest has indicated its desire to build further value by pursuing organic growth and acquisition opportunities rather than realise significant cash", said Bidvest chief executive Brian Joffe.

Bidvest originally informed shareholders in July that it had received unsolicited offers for the food service businesses and a board sub-committee was appointed to conduct a strategic review to see if any of the proposals would "optimise value for Bidvest shareholders".

"Notwithstanding current trading challenges, the potential for substantial growth in the value of these assets should not be underestimated," Joffe said. "We see considerable opportunity and are well placed to pursue it, notably in the new geographies covered by the signing of memorandums of understanding to buy food service businesses in Egypt, the Baltic States and Chile - the first time the Group has sought entry into the South American market."

Bernard Berson, chief executive of the Foodservice division, noted: "Management are pleased with the conclusion reached by the Board. It shows confidence in the capability of our people to continue to deliver growth and build an even bigger business across new international markets. The way is now clear for the next stage of our growth strategy to roll out."

Joffe founded Bidvest 22 years ago. It is the largest food service operator outside the USA. The group has food service interests in South Africa and Namibia, the UK, Western and Central Europe, the Middle East, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong and greater China.

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By Neil Gerrard

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