Reckitt cuts a mustard with $4.2 billion food business sale

(Reuters) – U.S. spices builder McCormick Co Inc (MKC.N) has concluded to buy Reckitt Benckiser Group’s (RB.L) food business for a higher-than-expected $4.2 billion to give it a wider accumulation of seasonings and sauces.

London-listed Reckitt pronounced in Apr it was reviewing options for a unit, that includes French’s mustard and Frank’s RedHot sauce, to cut a debt following a $16.6 billion squeeze of baby regulation builder Mead Johnson. That merger total a new product line and increased a business in building markets and a United States.

The sale, announced late on Tuesday, will revoke Reckitt’s net debt to EBITDA ratio to 3.3 times from 4.1 times. It will also capacitate it to concentration some-more closely on a consumer health and home brands, that embody Durex condoms and Mucinex cold medicine.

It gives McCormick, a builder of Lawry’s, Old Bay and Billy Bee honey, a heading position in a U.S. condiments category.

At $4.2 billion, a cost represents a mixed of some-more than 7 times a annual sales from a business and 20 times a gain before interest, tax, debasement and amortization.

That is many aloft than a long-term normal of vital deals in a sector, that Bernstein analysts contend is 3.3 times sales and 16.2 times EBITDA.

Sources had formerly estimated that a business, that captivated seductiveness from several other U.S. players, would fetch some-more than $3 billion.

RBC Capital Markets analysts pronounced it “feels to us like a really high cost for a US oriented ambient food business”.

Morgan Stanley analysts pronounced a high cost tab reliable a value placed on singular resources like French’s, that is a world’s heading mustard brand.

Reckitt shares were adult 1.3 percent during 0830 GMT.

McCormick, that expects a prohibited salsa difficulty to continue saying strong growth, has been perplexing to expand.

Last year it approached Premier Foods (PFD.L), a owners of British food brands including Mr Kipling cakes and Oxo batch cubes, though was rebuffed.

With this deal, McCormick expects to grasp “meaningful accretion” to margins and practiced gain per share, incompatible transaction and formation costs. It expects cost synergies of about $50 million, many of that by 2020.

The total entity’s 2017 pro forma net sales are approaching to be about $5 billion, McCormick said.

Credit Suisse suggested McCormick on a deal, while Morgan Stanley suggested Reckitt.

Reporting by Sangameswaran S in Bengaluru and Martinne Geller in London; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier/Keith Weir

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