The Istanbul-based food producer plans to seek partners in units including Godiva’s business in Japan and some other Asian markets, while exiting non-core assets such as its mining and brick business.
Tuesday 19, February 2019
(Bloomberg) --The Turkish owner of Godiva chocolates and McVitie’s biscuits has stepped off the acquisition trail.
After years of global expansion, Yildiz Holding is speeding up asset sales to focus on its core business and underpin Turkey’s largest loan restructuring deal, which it struck with lenders last year.
The company’s ultimate goal is to become a leading provider of snacks and chocolates in its chosen markets, according to Nurtac Ziyal Afridi, Chief Global Strategy and M&A officer.
The group acquired Godiva, United Biscuits Holdings and DeMet’s Candy Company over the past decade as part of an expansion drive that made it Turkey’s biggest international investor. The hundreds of loans that Yildiz took out to support this growth were restructured last year, in a $6.5 billion agreement with more than a dozen lenders that required it to downsize.
“We want to divest our assets that are outside our global focus of businesses,” said Afridi in an interview Thursday. “Proceeds from the stake sale in the Asian assets will go to Yildiz Holding’s debt repayment and also help Godiva’s expansion in other markets.”
Yildiz Holding hired Morgan Stanley last year to manage the stake sale in Godiva’s business in Japan. People with knowledge of the process have previously said it could fetch as much as $1.5 billion. With the sale expected to complete at the end of the month, Afridi said negotiations with the unidentified buyer will determine which additional countries will be added in the sale.
The group’s private equity unit, Franklin Resources-backed Gozde Girisim Sermayesi Yatirim Ortakligi, is also selling assets. It entered into an exclusivity agreement with Vienna-based RHI Magnesita to sell its mining and brick making unit Kumas Manyezit Sanayi, the company said Friday, after the interview with Afridi.
“We will do two or three asset sales this year from the portfolio as we are getting advisory and valuation support from Franklin Templeton on Gozde’s assets,” Afridi said. The planned sales for 2019 included Kumas, she said.