Business briefs: Frozen profits for Unilever

Unilever is to sell most of its frozen food activities such as Iglo and Bird’s Eye to private equity group Permira for €1.7 bn. The long-expected sale will give Unilever a book profit of over €1 bn. Unilever’s frozen foods generated sales of €1.2 bn in 2005.

Unilever’s ice cream activities and its Italian Findus operations are not included. The takeover price is higher than analysts had expected. Petercam analyst Paul Linssen urged Unilever not to spend the money on new acquisitions but to continue cleaning up its portfolio.
UK Sunday paper The Business reports that Dutch energy companies Nuon and Essent have each taken on merchant banks to advise them on a possible merger. Nuon has reportedly brought in ABN Amro while Essent has opted for Citigroup, the Business claimed.
Investors lobby group VEB has been sent 173,000 claims by angry shareholders in supermarket group Ahold, following the book-keeping scandal of 2003. Ahold has reserved $1.1 bn to pay off the claims.
Leiden-based biotechnology company Octoplus is planning to launch on the Amsterdam stock exchange and raise extra capital for investment. The company with a workforce of 130, focuses on the pharmaceutical industry.

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