Wessanen postpones sale of U.S. drinks unit ABC

AMSTERDAM Thu Dec 13, 2012 7:12am GMT

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AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Dutch food group Wessanen (BSWSc.AS) has postponed the sale of its U.S. drinks business American Beverage Corporation (ABC), which is estimated to be worth as much 110 million euros ($143 million), because bids were too low.

Wessanen, which is cutting jobs in Europe to cope with weak markets, wanted to sell the operations to focus on its European organic food and frozen snacks business.

"Despite ABC's continued success, the uncertainties attached to its relatively short track record in the emerging ready-to-drink frozen pouch category appears to have held back interested parties' views on value," Wessanen said on Thursday.

Analysts have said ABC, which sells ready-mix cocktails and fruit smoothies, could be sold for a price between 70 million euros and 110 million euros. ABC made an operating profit of 11 million euros on sales of 113 million in 2011.

In September 2011, Wessanen postponed the planned sale of ABC because the drinks business had improved performance, and then put it up for sale again in June this year.

(Reporting by Gilbert Kreijger; Editing by Dan Lalor and Hans-Juergen Peters)

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