April 26, 2019 / 3:12 PM / 4 months ago

CVC in talks over 1 billion euro sale of Continental Foods: sources

MADRID/LONDON/WARSAW (Reuters) - Private equity firm CVC Capital Partners is in talks with potential bidders about a possible sale of its Continental Foods business, which could be worth as much as 1 billion euros ($1.12 billion), five sources familiar with the matter said.

Among those interested in the packaged soup and sauce business are Spanish food group Agrolimen and Polish group Maspex, according to three of the sources, who declined to be identified as the situation is private. Agrolimen has shown interest in Continental Foods previously. CVC, Maspex and Continental Foods declined to comment.

Agrolimen could not be reached, though its GB Foods business declined to comment.

Continental, home to brands like Liebig in France and Erasco in Germany, is the latest in a string of packaged food assets to come on the block as consumer tastes are moving away from processed food.

Companies including Nestle, Unilever and Campbell Soup have all pursued divestitures as they try to boost profits and efficiency in an increasingly competitive market.

CVC bought Continental in late 2013 from Campbell Soup for 400 million euros. It tried to sell the business in 2017, but was unsuccessful.

Barcelona-based Agrolimen is the frontrunner in the unofficial process launched by CVC, according to two of the sources. The Spanish company has two businesses - GB Foods, which makes Gallina Blanca soup and Grand d’Italia pasta with revenue of 758 million euros in 2018, and Affinity Pet Care, the world’s sixth largest pet food company, according its website.

Maspex is a leading producer of juices and drinks in central and eastern Europe and also sells pasta, cereal and jams.

Editing by Jane Merrman

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