TPG Capital wins bid for Australia's Ingham poultry business

PERTH, Australia, March 9 Sat Mar 9, 2013 4:58am GMT

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PERTH, Australia, March 9 (Reuters) - Private equity firm TPG Capital has purchased the highly sought after assets of Australian poultry firm Ingham Enterprises, Bob Ingham confirmed in a statement on Saturday.

Ingham wouldn't confirm the deal valued Australia's largest poultry producer at around A$1 billion ($1.02 billion) and that TPG paid more than A$850 million, including a small cash earn-out, as reported by the Australian newspaper on Saturday.

TPG beat several other bidders in the auction to acquire the prized Ingham assets, with U.S. private equity firm the Blackstone Group LP believed to have been a leading contender.

As part of the deal, the Ingham family are retaining ownership of their racing business as well as a substantial property portfolio.

Bob Ingham, sole shareholder of the company which owns the Ingham Chicken brand, put the poultry producer up for sale in July last year.

Australian food manufacturers have been highly sought after by private equity and other Asian buyers in the past two years due to resilient sales and solid cashflows.

Ingham Enterprises was advised by Investec Bank and TPG was advised by Macquarie Capital. Representatives from both banks were not immediately available for comment.

It will be business as usual at the 95-year-old chicken business under the new owners, Ingham said.

"An important part of the decision for me was finding a buyer who would ensure that our customers will continue to receive the highest level of service and our employees would be well looked after," Bob Ingham said. (Reporting by Morag MacKinnon; Editing by Michael Perry)

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