Kerry Group is eyeing a number of big deals in 2015 after getting the ball rolling with the acquisition of UK premium hot dog seller Rollover.
Analysts estimate the Irish food giant has a war chest of between £300m and £400m, with the focus expected to be on the ingredients and flavours business, which accounts for 74% of revenues.
“The group has good cash balances and is looking to do big deals which are incremental for the company overall,” Investec analyst Ian Hunter said.
Kerry said in this week’s full-year results - in which 3.4% volume growth in ingredients was offset by a 0.7% decline in consumer foods - that the deals pipeline was “strong”. A spokesman added the company was in a “good position” to look at all opportunities across both businesses.
As well as buying private equity-backed Rollover and part of Dairygold Co-operative’s French food ingredients business so far in 2015, Kerry has disposed of the direct-to-store business Kerry Fresh, as part of the repositioning of the consumer foods arm, and is in advanced talks to sell Australian bakery Pinnacle.