The owners of frozen food giant Findus are mulling a refinancing deal in a bid to take advantage of strong bond markets ahead of the expiry of existing debt covenants in two years’ time.
Findus – which suffered a major PR hit earlier this year when one of its frozen lasagne products was found to contain horsemeat – was expected to issue a £410m bond this week to provide itself with greater long-term financial stability, Sky News reported yesterday.
The news report claimed the potential refinancing was the “first significant move to improve Findus’s balance sheet since the crisis, which exposed some of its beef-labelled products as containing close to 100% horsemeat”.
Findus downplayed the significance of the bond’s timing and said it was simply considering its financial options. “Findus is continually reviewing the best and most efficient way to fund the company’s future growth. Findus is performing well and is on plan,” it said in a statement.
A source close to Findus added that the group’s consideration of a bond was simply an opportunistic move in a “very strong bond market”, which would allow Findus more flexibility in its financial arrangements ahead of the expiry of its existing debt in 2015 and 2016.
Findus is majority owned by JP Morgan, Highbridge Capital and Lion Capital, while Northwest Mutual owns a minority stake.