Aryzta €800m share offer attracts 97.4% take-up

Frozen bakery giant Aryzta has raised almost €800m through a share offer.

The company has announced that 97.4% of the subscription rights for new shares have been taken up, meaning Aryzta will receive gross proceeds of around €790m (£701m). The remaining shares will be sold.

Aryzta plans to use the funds primarily for loan repayment, funding investments under its Project Renew efficiency programme, and as working capital.

The fundraising plan was announced in the summer and had been challenged by Aryzta’s largest shareholder, Cobas Asset Management. The investor claimed the €800m target was too high and suggested a €400m capital increase and sales of non-core assets to raise a further €250m.

“The board believes the proposal approved by shareholders is in the best interests of Aryzta as a whole and is the option with the highest probability of success,” stated Aryzta at the time. “With an effective capital structure, the board and executive team will focus on delivering on its multi-year turnaround plan.”

Aryzta last month reported steep declines in profit and earnings – but insisted the business is set for future growth. Announcing its results for the year to 31 July 2018, it reported a 9.5% fall in revenue to €3,435m (£3,057m), down 1.2% on an organic basis. European revenue fell 1.6% to €1,710.6m (£1,522m), but grew 0.9% on an organic basis.

Earnings were hit by the butter price hike and Brexit concerns in Europe, and by labour and distribution cost increases in the US.

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