Three iconic NZ brands are up for sale according to Australian business journalists. They report that Tegel, Griffins and Hoyts are all being prepared for the sale process.

Australian private equity firm Pacific Equity Partners has denied media speculation it is planning to put New Zealand-based biscuits and snack food group Griffin’s Foods on the block.

The Australian Financial Review reported last week that PEP was preparing to sell poultry producer Tegel, followed by Griffin’s, and was reviving the sales process for cinema chain Hoyts.

The paper said UBS was a strong contender to advise PEP on Griffin’s, which it thought to be valued at around A$500 million (NZ$653.3m).

A PEP spokesman denied Griffin’s was next in line for sale, but confirmed Greenhill Caliburn and Morgan Stanley had been given the mandate to manage a strategic review of Tegel, including a trade sale.

Tegel is New Zealand’s best-known supplier of fresh and frozen chicken products with about 52 per cent market share. PEP purchased Tegel from Heinz in 2005 for between $250m and $300m as part of a big spendup in this country.

Tegel is profitable, reporting a net profit of $29.5m in the year to April 2009, but carries significant debt.

Among those said to be sniffing around the poultry company are Thailand’s Charoen Pokphand Foods, China’s Bright Food which has just bought into Synlait, China Yurun Food Group and Japan’s Nippon Meat.

Meanwhile, Griffin’s is tracking well, with its holding company reporting a turnaround pre-tax profit of $18.7m for the year ending December, compared to a $6.7m loss the previous year.

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