PE Firms Outbid in Alpro Soya Auction

LONDON (Reuters) – Private equity sponsors exploring the possible acquisition of soya milk and yogurt maker Alpro Soya from Belgian food group Vandemoortele Group have withdrawn from the process, leaving only trade buyers in the auction, three bankers close to the deal said on Wednesday.

A number of interested trade buyers have been outbidding prospective private equity sponsors, who face difficulties stretching their buying power due to the credit crunch, two of the bankers said.

“The vendor has decided to run with trade buyers as they were outbidding private equity. A number of trade buyers were tabling significant amounts that couldn’t be met by sponsors,” one of the bankers said.

The business has a strong brand and a big presence in northern Europe and could fetch a price tag below 200 million euros ($259 million), based on EBITDA of around 30 million euros, debt of 3-3.5 times EBITDA and an equity contribution of around 50 percent of the price, another banker added.

($1=.7738 euros)
(Reporting by Zaida Espana; Editing by Greg Mahlich)