Speculation mounts over UK egg producer sale
Noble Foods, the largest egg producer by volume in Great Britain, is up for sale according to local newspaper reports.
Farmers and joint owners Peter Dean and Michael Kent are said to have approached private equity investors and overseas rivals about a possible deal, at a value of £400 million.
The Dean family started the business in the 1920s, packing and selling a small amount of eggs to local grocery stores and supermarkets in the south. In 2006 Deans Foods merged with its biggest competitor Stonegate to form Noble Foods. According to the latest accounts filed for the year ending 30 September 2011, profits almost halved to £11.91m compared with £22.7m the year before on sales of £595m.
Most of the UK’s 2,000 egg farmers have also been struggling to recoup the extra costs of feeding their animals. Higher feed prices have been compounded by last summer’s US droughts, which devastated crops.
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